Legally considered the worst of crimes in Colorado, the punishment for murder – the killing another person without legal justification – is a lengthy prison sentence or possibly death. Given these potential consequences, it is important for anyone facing homicide charges to retain a felony defense attorney.

Categories of Murder

Colorado law classifies a killing as either first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide. Whether a particular incident falls under one of these categories depends on the evidence at hand, any mitigating facts and those involved in the legal proceedings of the case.

First-Degree Murder

This Class 1 felony is punishable by either life in prison with no chance of parole or death in particular circumstances. An act is known as first-degree murder if it was premeditated and carried out with the intention to kill. A death that occurred during the commission of another felony, such as arson, rape, kidnapping, robbery or burglary, is felony homicide and usually carries the same potential punishment as first-degree murder.

Second-Degree Murder

This is a Class 2 felony punishable by a mandatory prison sentence of eight to 24 years. Second-degree murder does not involve premeditation, but it does involve malice. For example, a person who strikes his neighbor with a heavy object and kills him during an intense argument may be charged with second-degree murder. Although the defendant did not plan ahead to kill his neighbor, he may have wanted to kill him at the moment he raised the weapon. However, if the neighbor had seriously provoked the defendant, the killing could be reduced to a Class 3 felony, which carries a lesser mandatory prison sentence of 4 to 12 years.


This Class 4 felony homicide is punishable by a mandatory prison sentence of two to six years. Voluntary manslaughter is defined as a reckless act that causes a person’s death. Unlike first and second-degree murder, no premeditation or intention to kill is involved. For example, a person who fired a gun straight up in the air in a populated area could be charged with voluntary manslaughter if the bullet, on its way back down, struck a person and killed them.


Death cases are often built on DNA evidence, witness accounts and other circumstantial evidence. The Colorado Springs Homicide/Murder defense attorneys at The Kohn Law Firm carefully examine police investigation reports, collect witness statements and assemble evidence to present a solid defense at trial and work to resolve his clients’ cases. As felony defense lawyers, The Kohn Law Firm attorneys provide our clients with a compassionate understanding of their concerns during the criminal legal proceedings. It is imperative you take action immediately. If you or someone you know is facing potential felony charges in Colorado Springs, contact a criminal defense lawyer at The Kohn Law Firm anytime at 719-328-9555. Don’t wait. Book your FREE, confidential, no-obligation consultation now.


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