Hawaii recognizes several forms of criminal homicide including: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter, and negligent homicide. This article provides a brief overview of Hawaii's second-degree murder law.
What's the Difference Between First and Second Degree Murder?
In Hawaii, first and second-degree murder are both defined as the act of intentionally or knowingly causing the death of another person. However, first-degree murder can only occur under specific circumstances while second-degree murder acts as a catchall for all other killings that are committed intentionally or knowingly.
First-degree murder in Hawaii can only occur when the offender intentionally and knowingly causes the death of:
Hawaii's Second Degree Murder Law
|Hawaii Revised Statutes section 707-701.5: Murder in the Second Degree|
|Intentionally or knowingly causing the death of another person, except for those killings that qualify as first-degree murder (to read Hawaii's first-degree murder law see section 707-701).|
|Second-degree murder (or attempted second-degree murder) is a felony offense that can be punished by life in prison. Harsher sentences will be imposed if the court finds that the murder was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel, manifesting exceptional depravity, or that the offender was previously convicted of first or second-degree murder.|
Murder Reduced to Manslaughter
Generally, murder is defined as the unlawful killing of another with malice, while manslaughter is the unlawful killing of another without malice. However, in certain situations a charge for murder (either first or second degree) can be reduced to the lesser crime of manslaughter. In Hawaii, the charge can be reduced if the killing was committed under the influence of an extreme mental or emotional disturbance.
State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Hawaii's second-degree murder law contact a local criminal defense lawyer.
Contact a qualified attorney.