- For Attorneys
In Michigan, all murder is either in the first or second degree.
* First degree murder: [MCL 750.316] (Felony: mandatory life; no parole) -- "felony murder" (murder committed in the course of another felony), murdering a peace officer in the line of duty, or "premeditated murder". Murder cannot occur accidentally, the defendant must have intended to kill. Premeditation means that the defendant had time to consider the pros and cons of the killing beforehand.
* Second degree murder: [MCL 750.317] (Felony: Life or any term of years) -- causing death + intending to kill or do great bodily harm or knowingly creating a very high risk of death or great bodily harm knowing that death or such harm would be the likely result of his/her actions.
* Open Murder: [MCL 767.71] -- Michigan law does not require a prosecutor to choose between First Degree or Second Degree Murder when issuing a complaint, or even at trial. A prosecutor may charge "Open Murder", which is a combination of First and Second Degree Murder, and the jury may determine the appropriate degree based on the proofs.