Knowledgeable counsel in first- and second-degree murder cases

In North Carolina, first-degree murder is a Class A felony punishable by death or life in prison without parole. With so much at stake, do you dare trust your future and your freedom to just any criminal defense lawyer?

Clifford & Harris, PLLC provides comprehensive representation driven by more than 65 combined years of criminal law practice in Guilford County. We have the resources, knowledge and experience to tackle the voluminous evidence and aggressive prosecution that accompany murder cases.

Experience you can count on

Through the years, our lawyers have developed considerable knowledge of scientific evidence, including DNA testing and related statistics, time-of-death determination, forensic and autopsy reports and mental health issues such as diminished capacity and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The wisdom we have gained enables us to pursue all possible defenses and to successfully challenge the prosecution’s scientific evidence in every homicide case.

Classes of murder

Under North Carolina law, first-degree murder is defined as killing by:

  • Nuclear, biological or chemical weapon of mass destruction
  • Poison
  • Lying in wait
  • Imprisonment
  • Starving
  • Torture
  • Any other willful, deliberate and premeditated killing
  • Or in the process of committing or attempting an arson, rape, sex offense, robbery, kidnapping, burglary or other felony with a deadly weapon

You face life in prison without parole or the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder. In 2012, second-degree murder was elevated to a B1 felony, which carries a penalty of 144 to 300 months in prison, if you have no prior record.

Any murder not falling into the first-degree murder categories is a second-degree murder. However, a second-degree murder stemming from recklessness or from drug distribution is a felony B2, which comes with a sentence of 94 to 196 months in prison (if you have no prior record).

Felony death by vehicle

Also in 2012, the legislature revised the punishment for felony death by vehicle (Class D felony) and repeat felony death by vehicle (Class B2 felony). Both involve unintentionally causing the death of another while driving while impaired.

Greensboro, NC attorneys defending felony criminal charges

When the worst has happened and you face murder charges, it is imperative that you have a highly skilled defense attorney on your team. Contact Clifford & Harris, PLLC at 336-574-2788 or online to discuss your case. We really can help.