First Degree Murder vs. Second Degree Murder: What's the Difference?

Key Difference

Murders according to the law and judiciary system all around the world are mainly categorized or classified into three kinds or levels. These kinds or levels are based upon the nature of the murder, the intention of the murderer, the weapon used, etc. These three levels are First Degree Murder, Second Degree Murder, and Third Degree Murder. There is a fourth degree of murder as well but is often categorized in the Third Degree in most of the countries of the world. The basic difference between the first-degree and second-degree murder is that first degree murder is planned intentional murder whereas second-degree murder in an unplanned intentional murder that has happened in result of any offense or fight at the spot, etc.

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Comparison Chart

First Degree Murder Second Degree Murder

About

The intentional killing of a person with a pre-planned scenario and deliberation is categorized in first-degree murder. The intentional killing of a person at spot due to sudden uneven situation or fight. No planning involved in it. This kind of murder is categorized under the second degree of murder.

Penalty

Death penalty or life imprisonment. Life imprisonment or 10 years of life in prison.

Mode

The means and mode that involve planning such as using a weapon, by torturing, blackmailing, bombing, poisoning, etc. As the murders committed on the spot due to uneven situations are classified as second-degree murders; they can involve any mean or weapon available that moment.

Involvement of Plan

The first degree of murder always involves planned approach. Pre-planned murders are classified in Involvement of plan. Second-degree murders do not involve any planning. They are attempted on the spot based upon that particular situation.

Special Circumstances

In various countries all around the globe, murder is regarded as first-degree murder when it is accompanied by external or internal means, accompanied by a group of people or helpers, etc. Regarding 2nd-degree murder, there are no as such special circumstances that are involved in its categorization. The main spotlight is on the intentions and on spot situation in which the murder was attempted.

Intensity

First-degree murders are considered to be more intense as they are pre-planned and are implemented willfully and deliberately. The intensity of the second-degree murders depends upon the situation in which they are attempted.

 What is First Degree Murder?

In various judiciaries and countries all around the globe, the laws are different to deal with specific kind of crime depending upon the region, religion and their culture. In the US a murder is regarded as first-degree murder if planning purposely kills a person.  In others words, we can say that murder is classified as the first-degree murder when it is intentionally committed and with proper deliberation and planning. In various regions of US and other North American and European countries due to some special circumstances along with planning element could classify the murder as first-degree murder. For example, a group of people killing someone collectively, or torturing before the killing, blackmailing, etc. In simpler words, we can demonstrate a pre-planned and more cruelly committed murder as first-degree murder. The murderer can plan it by various contradiction, offensive issue, jealousy, hatred, etc.

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 What is Second Degree Murder?

Although murder is a murder in its nature and killing of someone cannot be justified by any means, but by the intensity of killing, nature of on spot circumstances and various other reasons the murders are further categorized as a second-degree and third-degree murder. All sort of murders that are committed without planning, by on the spot contradictory issues or fight is classified as second-degree murder. In various countries and states all around the globe, the second-degree murderer is given a bit relaxation and free hand as compare to the first-degree murderer as most of the time if proved, life imprisonment or the death penalty is the only punishment for it. Whereas by circumstances and situations described and proved in court about the murder, the punishment can be of life imprisonment, ten years of life imprisonment, etc.

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First Degree Murder vs. Second Degree Murder

  • All pre-planned and intentional murders are classified as First Degree Murder.
  • Un-planned killing, murder by particular circumstances and situations are classified as Second Degree murder.
  • Punishment for First Degree murder is life imprisonment or the death
  • Punishment for second-degree murder is either life imprisonment or 10 years of imprisonment.

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