The death of a person is a tragic event. And being accused of causing a death is a very serious situation to be in. Whether it is someone you know or not, facing a murder charge is one that not only has severe potential penalties but also has the ability to harm one’s personal and professional reputation. Thus, it is vital to explore criminal defense options as a means to reduce and even prevent these consequences from occurring.

What constitutes first-degree murder in Louisiana? This offense occurs when a human being is killed and the offender has specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm. Additionally, the offender engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of an aggravated kidnapping, second degree kidnapping, aggravated escape, aggravated arson, aggravated or first degree rape, forcible or second degree rape, aggravated burglary, armed robbery, assault by drive-by shooting, first degree robbery, second degree robbery, simple robbery and other similar offenses.

This offense also occurs when an offender has the specific intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm upon a fireman, police officer or civilian employee of the Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory. Generally, Louisiana law indicates that anyone with the specific intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm upon another person will likely result in a first-degree murder charge.

Because this is a specific intent crime, those accused of this crime should consider defense options that call into question the accused’s intent. By proving that a defendant did not have the intent, this could help reduce the charges. Additionally, by taking steps to suppress evidence, a defendant could have the charges dropped against them. Initiating a criminal defense is the best way for a defendant to protect his or her rights no matter the alleged crime.