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What is the Law on Murder in Michigan and What are the Punishments for it?

Murder, is undoubted, the oldest form of crime and definitely the most heinous. Nothing beats the act of intentionally putting another human’s life. It gets even worse when we come to know about the reasons or evens with which people carry out this act. It is wise and necessary to be aware of the laws that are at the core of maintaining peace in our society.

Michigan law classifies murder into first-degree murder and second-degree murder. It classifies any act of intentional killing as murder. If the act of killing someone was purely accidental it is counted as manslaughter.

First Degree Murder in Michigan

  • Michigan Criminal Code 750.316 explains first-degree murder as an act of intentionally killing someone with a purpose or plan.

  • For the alleged person to get convicted the individual, the prosecutor needs to prove that the alleged has considerably planned the murder. Michigan law however also believes that premeditation can happen in a few seconds.   

    Michigan Murder Law
    The scenario of felony murder, i.e. murder performed while committing or attempting any other criminal activity such as arson, child abuse, robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, stalking, breaking a home, sexual assault, the act is labeled as first-degree murder.

  • It is considered to be a first-degree murder when the victim is a cop, judge, correctional officer or any peace officer and they were engaged in the business of their profession when they got killed.

  • The punishment for first-degree murder is life imprisonment with no possibility of parole.

Second Degree Murder in Michigan

  • Michigan Penal Code Section 750.317 explains second-degree murder. It is where the act of killing another person is not planned or premeditated, but simply reckless in nature.

  • It is an unplanned but intentional killing or a death that occurs due to a reckless disregard for human life. This includes a scenario where the person might have other intentions such as scaring people but did not realize the consequences that their actions could possibly have on the lives of other people.

    Murder Law Michigan
    It also includes impulsive killings that occurred in the heat of the movement leaving no room for premeditation.

  • The punishment for second-degree murder is imprisonment of varying periods up to life with a possibility of parole.

  • There are certain defenses that might be considered for a second degree murder such as insanity ( the person was mentally unfit while the act of killing), involuntary intoxication (the act of killing was carried out under the effects of a substance they did not intend to consume) or self defense (the person carried out the act of killing only to protect oneself from a greater or similar harm from the victim at the same moment). Irrespective of these defenses, the punishment for second-degree murder can still be severe..

    Murder Law

Manslaughter in Michigan

  • Accidentally killing someone is counted as manslaughter and can be voluntary or involuntary.

  • Michigan Penal Code 750.321 prohibits the intentional killing of someone which stemmed from a sudden rise of emotional excitement and passion. The act of this kind comes under voluntary manslaughter. The punishment for voluntary manslaughter is of imprisonment for up to 15 years.

  • Michigan Penal Code 750.321 explains involuntary manslaughter as the act where the victim is killed because of someone’s criminal negligence or while committing another criminal offense were killing or causing any kind of bodily harm was not intentional.  The punishment for involuntary manslaughter is imprisonment up to 15 years or a fine of $7500 or both. The convicted can also be expected for the restitution of the family, 


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