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What is first degree murder?

Variations in the law exist across different jurisdictions and it is therefore important that Tennessee residents seek state-specific guidance on the criminal matters that affect their lives. This post will address how Tennessee defines first degree murder and it is important that readers remember this definition may be different in different states. Consultation with a local criminal defense attorney can help a person facing violent crime charges to get the best help possible.

There are two types of murder that may be considered first degree murder. The first is felony murder, or a murder that occurs during the commission of an alleged felony. If a person is killed during an alleged assault or other felony offense, the offender may face first degree murder charges in Tennessee.

The second type of murder that may be classified as first degree murder is premeditated murder. Premeditation involves planning and preparation to carry out a crime. Premeditated murder is not committed in the heat of passion or on impulse; someone charged with first degree premeditated murder has allegedly thought out and taken steps toward committing a homicide.

First degree murder charges can be aggravated by the presence of certain factors in a case. For example, a particularly cruel murder that allegedly involved torture or a minor victim may be elevated to an aggravated charge. Aggravated charges can be met with more significant penalties.

Any violent crime charge can be very serious and may put an individual's future in jeopardy. To better understand one's difficult legal dilemma when facing first degree murder charges, it is important to consider all possible criminal defense options.

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Mathis, Bates & Klinghard PLLC
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