The Definition of First-Degree Murder in Tennessee

In Tennessee, First Degree Murder is one of the most serious charges any citizen could be charged with.  First Degree Murder is a very complicated criminal charge that has a variety of definitions under Tennessee law. Below are the elements of First Degree Murder that the District Attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to convict a citizen of First Degree Murder in Tennessee.

First Degree Murder is defined in the following ways:

(1) A premeditated and intentional killing of another; or

(2) A killing of another committed in the perpetration of or attempt to perpetrate any first degree murder, act of terrorism, arson, rape, robbery, burglary, theft, kidnapping, physical abuse in violation of T.C.A. §71-6-119, aggravated neglect of an elderly of vulnerable adult in violation of T.C.A. §39-15-508, aggravated child abuse, aggravated child neglect, rape of a child, aggravated rape of a child or aircraft piracy; or

(3) A killing of another committed as the result of the unlawful throwing, placing or discharging of a destructive device or bomb.

The definitions and elements of First-Degree murder are very complicated; especially with regard to the determination of whether the person accused acted with premeditation. In Tennessee, “premeditation” means that the intent to kill must have been formed prior to the act itself. It is not necessary that the purpose to kill preexist in the mind of the accused for any definite period of time. The mental state of the accused at the time the accused allegedly decided to kill must be carefully considered in order to determine whether the accused was sufficiently free from excitement and passion as to be capable of premeditation.

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The Consequences if Convicted of First-Degree Murder in Tennessee:

The stakes could not be higher than those that face a citizen accused of committing First-Degree Murder charge in Tennessee. And that is because under Tennessee law, if convicted, an individual faces a Life sentence with or without the possibility of parole. In especially egregious circumstances the citizen accused could be confronted with the death penalty if convicted.

Given the complexity of the law, and the serious consequences if convicted, it is extremely important that anyone accused of committing First-Degree Murder arm themselves with a knowledgeable attorney who is experienced in handling such serious charges, has the ability to effectively analyze the State’s investigation against you, and knows how to be proactive in attacking the State’s allegations against you.

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The Importance of Hiring The Right Attorney:

Do not face a First-Degree Murder charge alone in Tennessee. The law surrounding a First-Degree murder charge is very complicated and the possible consequences if convicted are the most severe sentences that Tennessee administers. That is why if you are facing a First-Degree Murder charge in Tennessee, or are under investigation for a First-Degree Murder charge in Tennessee, you absolutely need a powerful attorney who knows how to handle First-Degree murder cases, who knows how to dismantle the State’s investigation against you, who will advocate for you and your rights, and that knows how to strategically work through the various complexities of a First-Degree murder investigation and charge.

If you are under investigation for First-Degree Murder or if you have been charged with First-Degree Murder in Franklin, Nashville, Murfreesboro, or the Middle Tennessee area, and you want a strong criminal defense attorney on your side who will fight for you and your rights then contact Legal Powers, PLLC today for a free consultation to see why our representation is the right choice for you.


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The information in this website is not legal advice. Visiting our website does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. The information provided above is intended to be used for informational purposes only and we hope it may assist in understanding the evaluation of your case when speaking with a Tennessee attorney.