North Carolina Second Degree Murder Laws

Second degree murder differs from first degree in that it is not a premeditated act, even though it is an intentional killing. For example, motorist A cuts off motorist B; motorist B is angered, pulls out a gun, and shoots motorist A dead. It was intentional, but not necessarily in the heat of passion (since no reasonable person would be provoked to kill) nor premeditated. Anyone convicted under North Carolina's second degree murder law faces 12 years to life in prison.

The following chart highlights the main provisions of North Carolina second degree murder laws. See FindLaw's Homicide section to learn more.

Code Section North Carolina General Statutes ยง 14-17
Definition of the Crime

Intentional killing with malice, but without premeditation (in other words, all murders not charged as first degree murder)

Classifications / Penalties

Class B1 felony; 144 months to life in prison

Class B2 felony; 94 to 393 months in prison (If malice is based on recklessness or the murder results from drug distribution)

Defenses Insanity; self-defense; actual innocence

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a North Carolina criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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