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Commonly Handled Crimes

These are some of the most common crimes we deal with on a regular basis, with explanations and penalties for your information. We do handle cases beyond these, and if you have any questions please feel free to contact us. Remember, this information is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship and is not a substitute for consulting an attorney.

Homicide Crimes

1st Degree Murder

1st degree murder is the killing of a human being by another, intentionally, with premeditation and deliberation. It also includes any killing during the commission of a certain felonies. It is a felony punishable by life imprisonment or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

2nd Degree Murder

2nd degree murder is the killing of a human being by another, intentionally, but without premeditation and deliberation. It also includes an unintentional killing which results from extremely wanton and reckless conduct when the defendant was aware of the danger to human life (called “depraved heart murder”) and killings which occur during the commission of inherently dangerous felonies not included in the list for 1st degree murder. It is a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to 30 years.

Manslaughter

Manslaughter may be voluntary or involuntary, and is the killing of a human being by another either by coercion, in the honest but unreasonable belief deadly force was necessary for the defendant to defend himself or herself, or by gross negligence. It is a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years. Unlike in the old days, finding one’s spouse engaged in sexual intercourse with another is no longer sufficient provocation to reduce a charge of murder to manslaughter.

Crimes Against the Person

1st Degree Assault

A 1st degree assault is the same as a 2nd degree assault, but either committed with the intent to cause serious bodily injury or committed with a firearm. It is a felony punishable by imprisonment up to 25 years.

2nd Degree Assault

A 2nd degree assault is a harmful or offensive touching, or putting someone in fear of a harmful or offensive touching. It is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment up to 10 years or a fine of $2,500, or both. If the victim is a law enforcement or corrections officer, it is a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years or a $5000 fine, or both.

Robbery

Robbery is theft committed by force or threat of force against the person of another. It is a felony punishable by imprisonment up to 15 years. If a dangerous or deadly weapon is used, it is punishable by imprisonment up to 20 years.

Property Crimes

Theft

Theft is obtaining unauthorized control over property which belongs to someone else, with the intent to deprive the owner of the property. Theft can be simply taking something, by deception, by knowingly possessing property someone else has stolen, or that someone else has lost, or by obtaining services by deception. The penalty depends on the value of the property involved: if under $1000 it is a misdemeanor, if $1000 or more it is a felony. The amount of fines and length of imprisonment vary with the amount involved. Additionally, the person convicted must return the property or repay its value. Increased penalties are possible for repeat offenders.

Burglary

First-degree burglary is the breaking and entering of the dwelling of another with the intent to commit a theft or a crime of violence. If the intent is to commit a theft, it is a felony punishable by imprisonment up to 20 years. If the intent is to commit a crime of violence, it is a felony called home invasion punishable by imprisonment up to 25 years.

Second-degree burglary is the breaking and entering of the storehouse of another with the intent to commit a theft, a crime of violence, or a 2nd degree arson. Storehouse, in this context, means any structure which is not a dwelling. It is a felony punishable by imprisonment up to 15 years, unless it is based on intent to steal a firearm, in which case it is punishable by imprisonment for up to 20 years or a fine of up to $10,000 or both.

Third-degree burglary is the breaking and entering of the dwelling of another with the intent to commit any crime. It is a felony punishable by imprisonment up to 10 years.

Fourth-degree burglary is the breaking and entering of the dwelling or storehouse of another, the presence in or around the building of another with the intent to commit a theft, or possession of burglars’ tools with the intent to commit any other sort of burglary. It is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment up to 3 years.

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