In the State of Nebraska, as is the case in other states, there are few criminal offenses that carry harsher potential penalties if convicted than murder. Though the crime of murder is generally considered one of the most heinous crimes, it is also frequently one of the most complex crimes because the facts and circumstances surrounding a death can vary tremendously from justified self-defense to premeditated first degree murder. If you have been charged with murder one of the first things you need to know is the punishment for murder in Nebraska.
Before discussing the potential penalties if convicted of murder though, it is important to understand the different offenses for which you could be charged and/or ultimately convicted in Nebraska as a result of killing another human being. In Nebraska you could be charged/convicted of any of the following:
· Murder in the first degree
· Murder in the second degree
· Motor vehicle homicide
The primary difference between the offenses is found in the accused’s “means rea”, or state of mind, at the time of the killing. First degree murder, for example, requires the prosecution to prove that you killed another person and the killing occurred:
· purposely and with deliberate and premeditated malice
· in the perpetration of or attempt to perpetrate any sexual assault in the first degree, arson, robbery, kidnapping, hijacking of any public or private means of transportation, or burglary
· by administering poison or causing the same to be done.
Murder in the first degree is a Class IA felony in Nebraska, conviction of which will result in a sentence of life in prison.
Murder in the second degree is a killing but without the premeditation found in first degree murder. Second degree murder is charged as a Class IB felony in Nebraska and carries a punishment of 20 years to life in prison if convicted.
Manslaughter is a killing that occurred “without malice upon a sudden quarrel or causes the death of another unintentionally while in the commission of an unlawful act.” Manslaughter is a Class IIA felony, conviction of which carries a term of imprisonment of up to 20 years with no mandatory minimum.
Finally, as the name of the offense implies, motor vehicle homicide involving killing someone while operating a motor vehicle and can be charged as anything from a Class I misdemeanor to a Class IIIA felony in the State of Nebraska. As such, the potential penalties for a conviction range from no jail time to three years in prison.
Because there are additional facts and circumstances that could enhance, or increase, the penalties you are facing if convicted, such as a prior conviction, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney to discuss your specific case and to get started on your defense. Contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
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