The law for second degree murder differs by jurisdiction in the United States. In all US jurisdictions, however, there is an intermediate category of offenses, commonly known as homicide, which includes felony murder and first-degree murder.
In the state of California, the statute of limitations for second degree murder is three years. It also contains a provision allowing for the death penalty to be sought for first degree murder. California has always been one of the most progressive states when it comes to criminal law. A major part of this has been its strict enforcement of the death penalty and the use of life imprisonment sentences for felony crimes.
California, like many other states, requires a mandatory minimum sentence for second-degree murder. The minimum penalties in other states are often lower, but are still very serious. Although California's penalties may seem less than appealing, they are not much less than the ones prescribed for first degree murder, which generally carry a minimum sentence of 25 years.
Felony murder, on the other hand, carries a much higher sentence. Although the maximum sentence for felony murder is eight years, it does not include all the additional aggravating factors such as multiple murders. In California, however, felony murder requires a separate term of incarceration and a separate jury trial before it can be reduced from the maximum sentence of eight years.
Murder by arson is another form of felony murder and is punishable by life imprisonment. Again, a separate jury trial is required in order to reduce this crime from the death penalty. It may be argued that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment, but in California, it is required by the state constitution.
The last step in this process is to hire a defense lawyer, especially if you've been charged with a murder that isn't a first degree. Many first degree murders are difficult to defend against, and a good lawyer can get your sentence reduced or even dismissed entirely.
Murder by drug abuse is another type of felony. There are different types of drug abuse crimes, and some are far more serious than others. Drug abuse crimes are punished more severely than any other felony offense.
While these crimes carry a relatively mild degree of punishment, they carry a severe punishment, including mandatory sentences of imprisonment and hefty fines. It is important to hire a competent criminal defense lawyer . . . . . . in these cases.
No matter what the crime, it's important to consult with a seasoned criminal defense attorney in your state's felony murder charges. An experienced lawyer will be able to fight for your constitutional rights and make sure that you receive a fair sentence.