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What Is The Law On Murder In New Hampshire And what Are The Punishments For It?

A murder takes place when a person takes the life of another person. There are 5 different kinds of criminal homicide in the state of New Hampshire. These are first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter, capital murder, and negligent manslaughter. The article covers an overview of capital murder, 1st-degree murder, and 2nd-degree murder.

First-degree murder in New Hampshire

What does the law prohibit?

When a person causes the death of another person purposely or causes the death of another person knowingly in the following scenarios:

  • While attempting to or prior to while engaging in, or after the commission of any kind of felonious sexual assault
  • Killing America’s President, Vice-President, a Congress member, Governor of a state, or any other important office bearer and the murder was motivated by the awareness of the victim’s foregoing capacity
  • Killing a person while attempting to commit or committing arson, or
  • While trying to commit or prior to, while engaged in, or after the commission of burglary or robbery and equipped with a dangerous weapon. The weapon was used to cause the death of the victim.
New Hampshire Murder Law

Penalties for first-degree murder in New Hampshire

New Hampshire punishes a person convicted of a 1st-degree murder charge by life imprisonment and does not allow parole.

Second-degree murder in New Hampshire

What does the law prohibit?

  • Causing the death of a person knowingly, or
  • When the defendant causes such a death because of a reckless act under circumstances that manifest a complete indifference to the importance of human life.

The laws of the state presume indifference and recklessness when the accused kills a person by using a deadly weapon while committing or attempting to commit or after committing a felony of type Class A in the state.

Penalties for second-degree murder in New Hampshire

If found guilty, the defendant can be penalized by a term depending on the court orders or even imprisonment for life.

Murder Law New Hampshire

1st-degree versus 2nd-degree murder

The exact definition of these two murder charges varies marginally from state to state. However, the major difference is typical whether the murder was committed with planning or premeditation or not. A 1st-degree murder is usually defined as an illegal killing, which premeditated and willful.

A 2nd-degree murder is an intentional killing albeit unplanned or a murder, which is caused because of a reckless act of a person who has no regard for human life.

Second-degree murder versus manslaughter

Under certain circumstances, even though the killing took place intentionally and would have otherwise been considered as a 2nd-degree murder is instead considered as manslaughter in the state of New Hampshire. The latter is a less severe crime than a 2nd-degree murder.

When the offender killed a person under extreme emotional or mental disturbance because of extreme provocation, the offender is said to have committed manslaughter and not a 2nd-degree murder.

Murder Law

Capital murder in New Hampshire

What does the law prohibit?

Causing the death of another person knowingly under the following circumstances:

  • A judicial officer/law enforcement officer who was performing his/her duty
  • Killing another person while serving life imprisonment minus parole
  • Killing someone else while attempting to or after, while or prior to committing an act of felonious sexual assault (aggravated)
  • Killing a person while attempting to or while engaged in, before, or after committing burglary
  • Murdering someone while trying to commit or after, while, or before committing any offense penalized under the Controlled Drug Act
  • Murdering a person while trying to or after, before or while committing an act of kidnapping

Penalties for capital murder in New Hampshire

If a person is found guilty of capital murder, he/she may be penalized by death.


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