More Information About Felony Murder And Punishment

felony murder

A felony murder rule applies to a defendant being charged with first-degree murder for killing that happened in the event of a dangerous felon, even if the defendant wasn’t the killer.

Felony murder rule is applicable to crimes which are viewed as inherently dangerous since the rationale underlying the felony murder rule is that some crimes are considered so dangerous that the idea is to deter individuals from doing them all together. Therefore, when an individual engages in an inherently dangerous offense, they could be held responsible for any fatal consequences resulting from such a crime, even if someone else is responsible for causing death.

A felony murder rule is an exclusion to the standard rules of homicide. Hiring a specialized murder lawyer is essential in such cases to ensure that the defendant gets the best possible outcome.

Usually, the defendant can be convicted of murder when the prosecutor shows that a defendant acted with the intention to kill or displayed reckless indifference to a person’s life. Under the felony murder rule, on the other hand, the defendant can be convicted of murder despite the defendant not acting with reckless indifference or intent. The prosecution only must show that the defendant was a participant in a felony where the fatalities happened.

What Are Considered As Inherently Dangerous Crimes?

Inherently dangerous crimes may vary from one state to the next, however generally include:

  • Robbery
  • Rape
  • Burglary
  • Kidnapping
  • Arson

But, under the merger doctrine, if the foundations of the underlying felony are a part of the components of murder, the felony murder rule is not applicable. For instance, if the defendant who was a participant in an assault where a person was killed couldn’t be charged with felony murder due to the elements of assault also being incorporated in the origins of the murder. Therefore, the assault amalgamates into the murder and is not an evident crime that could constitute the underlying felony. If you need legal assistance with regards to a crime being committed and you need council, the criminal defence lawyers at Sibley Lawyers can assist you.

Felony murder can happen in various scenarios, many of which might come as a surprize. For instance, if the defendant and his partner try to rob a gas station and the partner fires a warning shot just to scare the store clerk but hits another customer by accident. IN this case, both the defendant and the partner can be charger with murder, despite the defendant not being in possession of the gun. Correspondently, if a man commit arson by setting fire to his neighbor’s shed because he see it as an eyesore, but the fire spreads and burns down another neigbor’s house, killing the occupants, the man can be charged with murder despite his intention not being to hurt anyone. Due to these complexities, it is essential to bear in mind that being involved with an inherently dangerous crime which leads to fatalities can result in murder charger for all parties involved.


In almost every state of the US, a felony murder rule exists, and the federal law murder rule is recognized. In almost every state, felony murder is classified as first-degree murder and can lead to sentencing of several years or life imprisonment. In about half of these states, felony murder is viewed as a capital offense, meaning that the death penalty applies. However, additional restrictions were imposed by the Supreme Court, which can vary according to state.