If you or a loved one has been charged with second-degree murder, you an experienced attorney on your side. At Pearson & Paris, P.C., we have more than 50 years of combined legal experience that we will use in your defense. Perhaps more importantly, our top criminal defense attorney is a former senior prosecutor who knows how district attorneys handle these cases. That knowledge allows us to create effective strategies ranging from negotiation to courtroom battles.
Whether in the Denver area or anywhere in Colorado, second-degree murder is committed when a person knowingly causes the death of another. When second-degree murder is committed in the heat of passion, the charge is reduced from a class 2 felony to a class 3 felony.
Possible Consequences For Second-Degree Murder
Murder in the second degree is a class 2 felony. Although a probationary sentence is authorized by statute, it is unlikely that any court would consider imposing a probationary sentence in a second-degree murder case. The offense is also punishable by a prison sentence of eight years up to 24 years, with a possible sentence of up to 48 years in the case of exceptional circumstances. This charge is frequently accompanied by a crime of violence enhancer that sets a minimum mandatory prison sentence of at least 16 years.
Possible Defenses For Second-Degree Murder
In the case of second-degree murder, the defense may center on the fact that the person did not knowingly kill anyone and that the resulting death was an accident, leading to a conviction for a lesser offense. It may also be possible to demonstrate that the killing occurred in self-defense.
Homicide cases require a comprehensive defense approach that may require the assistance of other professionals in a variety of disciplines to analyze all aspects of the case. The defense may require experts in the areas of gunshot residue (GSR), DNA, serology, emergency medicine, psychology, psychiatry, human reaction, firearms, tool marks, foot marks, tire marks, crime scene investigations and police procedure.
The remaining defenses that may be applied in a second-degree murder case apply with equal force to those that may apply in any other criminal case. This includes an analysis of any violation of constitutional rights, such as the right to remain silent, the right to counsel, the right to have any searches and seizures based on probable cause, a proper warrant, and the right to due process in the proper preservation of evidence that may be used against you. Many other defenses are available that rely on scrutinizing and exposing weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case, such as biased or incompetent witnesses, flawed crime scene investigation, flawed administration and procedures in collecting breath, blood or urine for forensic testing, incompetent computer evidence, flawed photo lineups and inaccurate crime scene/accident reconstructions.
It is important that you hire a skilled and experienced second degree murder lawyer to defend you in a second-degree murder case in Littleton, Jefferson County, Colorado.