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What should you know about felony murder?

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2022 | Violent Crimes |

Like everywhere else, Arkansas law prohibits individuals from taking the lives of others. While there are exceptions to the state’s murder laws, you may face criminal prosecution for intentionally or even accidentally killing someone else.

First-degree murder typically involves the premeditated killing of another person. This means you must take the time, even if it is brief, to determine whether or not a person lives. Because Arkansas has a felony murder rule, though, it is possible to face first-degree murder charges without having premeditation.

The commission of a felony

Citizens of the Natural State have an interest in preventing felonies, such as burglary or assault. Part of this interest is keeping Arkansans safe from serious bodily harm. If you are in the commission of a felony and someone dies, you may face prosecution under the felony murder rule.

Felony murder

For prosecutors to pursue a felony murder conviction, someone must die when you are in the process of committing a felony, taking actions in the furtherance of a felony or fleeing the scene of a felony. Furthermore, your actions must exhibit an extreme indifference to human life.

Harsher sentences

According to the Sentencing Project, felony murder convictions often allow judges to hand down harsher sentences than may otherwise be available. In Arkansas, it is not uncommon for those with felony murder convictions to spend the rest of their lives behind bars.

While you must take any felony charges seriously, you should pay special attention to felony murder allegations. Ultimately, by presenting a robust defense, you may be able to minimize the catastrophic fallout that often accompanies a felony murder conviction.