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In Michigan, Murder is broken down into First Degree Murder and Second Degree Murder.  Below is a breakdown of each:

The term “Murder” is not defined by statute, because no such definition is required as there is nothing vague about what conduct is prohibited by the statute.


Premeditation and deliberation

Intent to kill and murder

(1) Except as provided in sections 25 and 25a of chapter IX of the code of criminal procedure, 1927 PA 175, MCL 769.25 and 769.25a, a person who commits any of the following is guilty of First Degree Murder and shall be punished by imprisonment for life without eligibility for parole:

(a) Murder perpetrated by means of poison, lying in wait, or any other willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing.

(b) Murder committed in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate, arson, criminal sexual conduct in the first, second, or third degree, child abuse in the first degree, a major controlled substance offense, robbery, carjacking, breaking and entering of a dwelling, home invasion in the first or second degree, larceny of any kind, extortion, kidnapping, vulnerable adult abuse in the first or second degree under section 145n, torture under section 85, aggravated stalking under section 411i, or unlawful imprisonment under section 349b.

(c) A murder of a peace officer or a corrections officer committed while the peace officer or corrections officer is lawfully engaged in the performance of any of his or her duties as a peace officer or corrections officer, knowing that the peace officer or corrections officer is a peace officer or corrections officer engaged in the performance of his or her duty as a peace officer or corrections officer.


  • Arson – means a felony violation of chapter X.
  • Corrections officer – means any of the following:

           (i) A prison or jail guard or other prison or jail personnel.

           (ii) Any of the personnel of a boot camp, special alternative incarceration unit, or other minimum security correctional facility.

(iii) A parole or probation officer.

  • Major controlled substance offense – means any of the following:

           (i) A violation of section 7401(2)(a)(i) to (iii) of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.7401.

           (ii) A violation of section 7403(2)(a)(i) to (iii) of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.7403.

           (iii) A conspiracy to commit an offense listed in subparagraph (i) or (ii).

  • Peace officer – means any of the following:

           (i) A police or conservation officer of this state or a political subdivision of this state.

           (ii) A police or conservation officer of the United States.

           (iii) A police or conservation officer of another state or a political subdivision of another state.

Murder is considered a felony and can be found under MCL 750.316-750.318.


The penalty for First Degree murder in Michigan is life without parole. 

The penalty for Second Degree murder in Michigan is life, with parole being eligible after 15 years. 


  • Mental Disorder
  • Intoxication
  • Mistake Of Fact
  • Necessity/Lesser harm
  • Lawful Capacity of Office
  • Self defense
  • Duress


Second Degree murder is all the other kinds of Murder that is not covered by First Degree Murder.  

The elements of Second-Degree Murder are:

  • a death, 
  • caused by the accused,
  • with malice, and
  • without justification or excuse.


The penalty for Second Degree murder in Michigan is life, with parole being eligible after 15 years. 


If the act of killing, though intentional, be committed under influence of passion or in heat of blood, produced by an adequate or reasonable provocation, and before reasonable time has elapsed for the blood to cool and reason to resume its habitual control, and is the result of temporary excitement, by which the control of reason was disturbed, rather than of any wickedness of heart or cruelty or recklessness of disposition, then the law regards the offense as of a less heinous character than murder, and gives it the designation of manslaughter.

Manslaughter can be lesser included offense of murder, but not necessarily 

Provocation mitigates intentional slaying, reducing it from murder to manslaughter.

Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of another without malice, express or implied.

Manslaughter distinguished from higher kinds of murder by absence of malic. 

A homicide, to constitute manslaughter rather than murder, must have been product of an act of passion, and must have been committed in moment of frenzy or temporary excitement devoid of actions requiring unimpassioned calculation for their accomplishment.

Manslaughter is generally divided into two classes: 


(See below)


Voluntary manslaughter is the killing of another intentionally, but in a sudden heat of passion due to adequate provocation and without malice.

Voluntary manslaughter requires that the defendant have the intent to kill or an intent to do serious bodily harm.

To reduce a homicide to voluntary manslaughter, the fact finder must determine from examination of all circumstances surrounding the killing that malice was negated by provocation and homicide committed in the heat of passion.

In order to be convicted of voluntary manslaughter there must be a finding of intent to kill or to do serious bodily harm to the deceased, without malice. 


Involuntary manslaughter is killing of another without malice and unintentionally, but in doing some unlawful act not amounting to felony nor naturally tending to cause death or great bodily harm, or in negligently doing some act lawful in itself or negligent omission to perform a legal duty.

The elements of involuntary manslaughter differ from those found in voluntary manslaughter in that they apply to an accused who did not proceed with intent to cause death or to do great bodily injury. 

Involuntary manslaughter consists of a killing without malice and unintentionally but with intent to inflict injury or reckless disregard for safety of the deceased.


The penalty for Manslaughter in Michigan is not more than 15 years in prison or by fine of not more than $7,500 dollars, or both, at the discretion of the court.

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