Murder and Manslaughter Charges in Colorado

It is natural to feel completely overwhelmed if facing a murder or manslaughter charge, but do not lose hope. A criminal defense attorney from Rodemer | Kane can help you get control of your case and find a way forward.

First and Second-Degree Murder Charges

Murder is essentially the crime of intentionally killing another person. Colorado law recognizes two degrees of murder charges:

  1. First-degree murder is charged when the prosecutor believes that the killing was not only intentional but also premeditated, i.e., with forethought or planning. First-degree murder is a Class 1 felony and, therefore, carries the possibility of life in prison.
  2. Second-degree murder is charged when the prosecutor believes the killing was committed knowingly but without premeditation. Second-degree murder can be charged in cases where the defendant did not intend for the victim to die but knew their actions would likely result in death. Similarly, killing someone “in the heat of passion” is considered second-degree murder. It is a Class 2 felony, a less severe charge than first-degree murder, but carries a possible sentence of 16 to 48 years in prison. It can be lowered to a Class 3 felony in a “heat of passion” case, which means the possible sentence is reduced to 10 to 32 years in prison.

These are the basic classifications of murder, but defendants can face first-degree murder charges even if they did not intentionally kill someone with premeditation. Some of the circumstances where first-degree murder can be charged without the elements of intent or premeditation include the following:

  • The killing was committed in connection with the commission of a felony (sometimes referred to as the felony murder rule)
  • The killing occurred because the defendant acted with extreme indifference to the value of human life and knew that their conduct created a grave risk of death
  • The sale of drugs on school property to someone under 18 that results in that person’s death

Whether you are facing a first-degree or second-degree murder charge, your life is on the line. Your best chance at a fair result is to talk to a criminal defense attorney with experience handling murder cases as soon as possible.

What Is Manslaughter?

Generally speaking, manslaughter is causing the death of another person without intent or premeditation. To put it another way, manslaughter is the crime of recklessly killing another person. It is a Class 4 felony, meaning defendants face anywhere from two to six years in prison if they are convicted.

Many defendants are charged with murder when a manslaughter charge would be more appropriate. Similarly, manslaughter charges may be pursued where civil liability may be a more appropriate remedy. If you have been charged with manslaughter, a manslaughter criminal defense attorney can evaluate the prosecution’s case and formulate an aggressive defense.

Call Rodemer | Kane Today if You Have Been Charged with Murder or Manslaughter

If you have been charged with murder or manslaughter, you can get the help you need today. Call or email us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and options.