In Canada, the law recognizes two classes of murder, being first-degree murder and second-degree murder. A finding of guilt for murder will always result in a life sentence. First-degree murder carries an automatic parole ineligibility date of twenty-five years. People convicted of second-degree murder can have much lower parole ineligibility dates.
A first-degree murder usually involves planning and deliberation. The law punishes first-degree murder harshly because of the need to deter carefully thought out criminal actions. The plan does not need to be elaborate; it can be a simple plan that occurs in a matter of minutes. Another route to first-degree murder can occur if an offender is in the process of committing another crime that then elevates the murder to a first-degree murder case. For example, a murder that occurs while the victim is forcibly confined can be elevated to first-degree murder.
An accused person that does not intend to commit murder but where a culpable homicide is still the result may be convicted of manslaughter. Sometimes, in certain factual scenarios, provocation may be an available partial defence. If provocation is proven under the law, a murder charge can be downgraded to a manslaughter conviction. Provocation requires several elements beyond just merely being insulted.
Murder, Attempted Murder, and Manslaughter can all attract life sentences. First Degree Murder attracts the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without parole for twenty-five years. Second Degree Murder also attracts a mandatory life sentence, but parole eligibility will vary. Manslaughter and attempted murder do not have mandatory life sentences.
Adam Weisberg has successfully defended murder, attempted murder and manslaughter charges for his clients. The defences have ranged from identity to self-defence. If you or someone you know is charged or being charged with murder, please contact Adam Weisberg immediately.