What is the Law in Murder in Montana 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 even the means with which people carry out this act. A 2016 report showed a total of 36 murder and manslaughter incidents in Montana with another 3840 incidents of other violent crimes. It is wise and necessary to be aware of the laws are at the core of maintaining peace in our society.
The Montana law classifies murder or criminal homicide into 5 types (Montana Code section 45-05-12):-
1. Deliberate homicide
2. Mitigated deliberate homicide
3. Negligent homicide
4. Aiding suicide
5. Vehicular homicide
A deliberate homicide is knowingly and purposefully killing another human being. It is similar to what most states define as first-degree murder. The code covers the following scenarios as a deliberate homicide.
Knowingly or purposely causing the death of another person, death of a fetus of another while knowing the woman is pregnant.
Death caused to another person while committing another felony including kidnapping, sexual intercourse without consent, burglary, arson, assault with a weapon or felonious escape.
Death caused to another person while attempting to commit another felony including kidnapping, sexual intercourse without consent, burglary, arson, assault with a weapon or felonious escape.
Death caused to another person while being legally accountable for committing or attempting to commit another felony including kidnapping, sexual intercourse without consent, burglary, arson, assault with a weapon or felonious escape.
The above three cases come under the category of felony murder. Usually, a deliberate murder scenario requires knowingly killing another person, however killing someone in the process of carrying other inherently dangerous felonies, even if unintentional, are counted as deliberate murder. This is because the defendant still made the choice to put someone’s life in danger while committing another crime also grave in nature.
When convicted of deliberate homicide, a person is punished with death. If the convicted is less than 18 years of age while committing the crime, they are punished with 10 to 100 years of imprisonment.
- The case of a mitigated deliberate homicide attempts to take into account the emotional or mental distress that would have led to the act of killing another human. It is possible for someone to feel extreme anger, or emotional distress due to a certain scenario, ultimately leading to the act of killing. Whether the distress was reasonable or not is determined by a reasonable third party who analyses the situation from the offender’s point of view. The act is still a criminal offense and does not reduce the element of the crime but accounts for the distress experienced by the offender.
When convicted of mitigated deliberate, a person can be punished with imprisonment of 2 to 40 years or a fine of $50,000 or both.
Negligent homicide is when an individual negligently causes the death of another person and cannot be covered under the scenarios covered under a deliberate homicide. When convicted of negligent homicide, a person can be punished with imprisonment of up to 20 years or a fine of $50,000 or both.
Aiding or solicited suicide is being actively involved in encouraging someone to kill themselves.
Vehicular homicide is purposefully killing someone while driving, especially under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. When convicted the individual can be punished with imprisonment of up to 30 years or a fine of $50,000 or both. It can also lead to suspension of the offender’s license for a year in case of vehicular homicide.