A person commits Murder by intentionally causing the death of another person. However, Washington law provides some exception to the intent requirement, which I will outline below. This guide is meant as a general overview of Washington law as it relates to the varying degrees of Murder. If you have specific questions please seek legal advice from a qualified felony defense attorney.
Murder in the First Degree:
A person can commit Murder 1 by killing another person: (1) with premeditated intent; (2), extreme indifference to human life; or by causing a death while committing or attempting to commit Robbery, Rape, Burglary, Arson, or Kidnapping. Murder 1 is a Class A felony, punishable by a mandatory sentence of life in prison. If certain aggravating factors are proven, Murder 1 a can result in a death sentence. This is known as Aggravated Murder.
Murder in the Second Degree:
Murder 2 is causing the death of another person intentionally, but without premeditation. Murder 2 can also be proven using the felony murder prong, which means causing the death of another person in the commission of a felony. Murder 2 is often charged in the “drug deal gone wrong” scenario. For a person with no criminal history, a standard range sentence for Murder 2 is typically 123-220 months in prison. However, sentence enhancements can dramatically increase this sentence range.
If you have specific questions about your case, do not rely on this guide. Contact an experienced felony attorney to discuss your options.