Nothing's scarier than having a loved one be accused of murder in Las Vegas. But an arrest is not a conviction, and there's still hope the entire case can be dropped or resolved favorably.
Our Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Michael Becker has defended several clients in murder trials over his two-decade long career. He's even achieved dismissals in two first-degree murder cases. Keep reading to learn the basics of Las Vegas murder law and how we can help.
The legal definition of murder in Las Vegas, Nevada is "the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought." In other words, murder is any premeditated or extremely reckless killing. There are two types of murder: First degree and second degree . . .
First-degree murder in Las Vegas, NV, comprises any deliberate act of killing. Examples are purposely shooting, stabbing or poisoning someone.
First-degree murder is also charged in cases where the defendant may not have intended to kill but ends up doing so in the perpetration of either rape, burglary, arson, kidnapping, robbery, child abuse, elder abuse, or sexual abuse of a child. This is called "felony murder" in Nevada.
Second-degree murder in Las Vegas, NV, comprises unintentional homicides where the defendant behaved so recklessly that the death was a foreseeable result. An example is killing someone by playing Russian Roulette.
The federal definition of first and second degree murder is very similar to Nevada's. Read more about federal murder law in Nevada in our article on federal murder law in Nevada.
Murder and manslaughter are both types of homicide, but manslaughter is a less serious crime. This is because manslaughter, unlike murder, is killing without malice and premeditation. There are two kinds of manslaughter in Nevada: Voluntary and Involuntary . . .
Voluntary manslaughter in Las Vegas is killing in the heat of passion. An example is a husband unexpectedly finding his wife in bed with another man and immediately killing them. The maximum prison term is ten years.
Involuntary manslaughter in Las Vegas is an unintentional killing done while breaking the law (such as speeding slightly and hitting a pedestrian) or by being negligent (such as adjusting your shoelaces while driving and hitting a pedestrian). The maximum prison term is four years.
How best to defend against a murder charge depends on the facts of the case and the available evidence. The following are standard defenses to murder in Las Vegas, NV:
When determining the harshness of the final sentence, the judge or jury takes into account all of the aggravating and mitigating factors . . .
Aggravating factors are circumstances which make the murder more egregious. An example is if the defendant tortured the victim before killing him. Mitigating factors make the defendant more deserving of a lighter punishment. An example is if the defendant came from an abusive home.
First degree murder is a category A felony in Las Vegas. The sentence may be either:
The death penalty may be imposed only if the aggravating circumstances, if any, outweigh any mitigating circumstances. People under eighteen at the time of the crime or who are mentally retarded may not be sentenced to death. Read more in our article on the death penalty in Nevada.
Second-degree murder is a category A felony in Las Vegas. Since second-degree murder is unintentional, the possible sentences are lighter:
If the defendant used a deadly weapon such as a gun to commit the murder, the judge will impose an additional penalty of 1 to 20 years.
If the victim in the case was sixty or older, the court will order an additional sentence of 1 to 20 years.
Murder is an "aggravated felony" and a "crime of moral turpitude" in Nevada. Therefore, aliens who are convicted of murder face deportation following completion of their criminal sentences. Read about the criminal defense of aliens in Nevada.
Our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (333-3673) are available to talk to you for free. Through thorough investigation, negotiation and litigation, we may be able to have a murder charge reduced to a lesser defense or thrown out completely.
Read more at our informational articles on: Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Michael Becker; crime of moral turpitude" in Nevada; felony murder in Nevada; voluntary manslaughter in Las Vegas; involuntary manslaughter in Las Vegas; search warrant in Las Vegas; category B felony in Las Vegas; attempted murder in Nevada; death penalty in Nevada; and criminal defense of aliens in Nevada. For information about California murder law, go to our page on California murder law.
If you or a loved one faces misdemeanor or felony charges, contact our Las Vegas NV criminal defense attorneys at (702) DEFENSE. We'd be glad to meet with you for a free consultation. We practice throughout Nevada, including Las Vegas, Henderson, Reno, Carson City, Boulder City, Mesquite and Laughlin.
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