Homicide is the killing of another human being. Homicide can result in a murder charge when it’s committed with malice, which is the intent to severely injury and/or kill another person. Washington State has different degrees of murder, and one of the most serious degrees is murder in the first degree.
What is Murder in the First Degree in Washington State?
A defendant is guilty of murder in the first degree if they:
- Had premeditated intent to cause the death of another person, or they caused the death of a third party; or
- Acted in a way that showed extreme indifference to human life and they engaged in the conduct that caused the death of another; or
- They committed or attempted to commit a felony during which another person was killed.
What Felony Must the Defendant Have Committed to Be Guilty of First Degree Murder?
There are specific crimes that separate first degree and second degree felony murder. The State of Washington has their own specific felonies:
- First or second degree robbery
- First or second degree rape
- First or second degree burglary
- First or second degree arson
- First or second degree kidnapping
Does First Degree Murder Require Premeditation?
Yes. Premeditation is the act of planning a murder. Unlike any other degree of murder, first degree must involve more than a moment of time before the murder.
What is the Punishment for First Degree Murder in the State of Washington?
First degree murder is charged as a class A felony. It is punishable by life in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000.
Should I Hire a Criminal Lawyer to Represent Me in My First Degree Murder Charge?
Yes. It’s vital to contact a Washington criminal lawyer to discuss your criminal defense options.