St. Paul Criminal Lawyers

If you have been accused of murder, you need a Minnesota murder lawyer. North Star Criminal Defense has experienced Minnesota murder lawyers who know how to assert an aggressive defense on your behalf. There is no more serious charge than for murder. It requires an immediate response to any allegations and formal investigation. Our nearly 30 years of experience will ensure that you have the quality representation that you need.

Because of the significant penalties involved in the event of a murder conviction, it is imperative that you have the best criminal defense available to work towards an acquittal, or reduction of the charges against you. Contact us right now so that we can begin working on your defense.

Types of Murder Charges

The crime of murder is charged by degree, depending on the intention of the accused and the circumstances involved. Each degree of murder carries different penalties, and these distinctions may become important in assessing the validity of the charge and possible outcomes.

First Degree Murder

Murder in the first degree is the most serious homicide crime, and to convict the prosecution must show there was premeditation. If the homicide was intentional and planned, then you will be charged with first degree murder. This crime can also be charged where the homicide occurs while committing other types of serious crimes such as sexual assault or burglary of a home.

  • The penalty for conviction is up to life in prison.

Second Degree Murder

Murder in the second degree is the intentional murder of another, without premeditation. What separates second-degree and first-degree murder is the state of mind. It is sometimes referred to as murder “in the heat of the moment.” It can also occur when a homicide results during the commission of another felony. Finally, second-degree murder includes drive-by shootings.

  • The penalty for conviction is up to 40 years in prison.

Third Degree Murder

This degree of homicide occurs when the death is caused by ‘inherently dangerous acts’, but without intention or premeditation. Third-degree murder includes unintentional murders, “depraved mind” murders, and even certain drug-related deaths, such as drug-induced homicide - i.e. selling drugs to an individual that overdoses.

  • The penalty for conviction is up to 25 years in prison.


First-degree manslaughter is charged whenever a death is caused by intentional acts, but without the intention to kill. This would include actions in the “heat of passion” that causes a loss of self-control. Second-degree manslaughter is a lesser charge where a death results from negligence or reckless actions. Manslaughter can be charged as a felony along with other offenses, even if those are misdemeanor crimes.

Federal Murder

Federal murder charges may be brought when the crime takes place on federal property or when crossing state lines. Certain federal murders are punishable by death, including drug trafficking and smuggling of illegal aliens.

Vehicular Homicide

There are severe penalties for vehicular homicide, with the most serious as a felony where there was gross negligence or intoxication involved.

  • The penalty for conviction is up to 10 years in prison.

Criminal Defense for Murder

Just because you have been accused of murder or manslaughter does not mean that you will be convicted. There is a high standard of proof required, especially for first degree murder, and your attorneys at North Star Criminal Defense will develop the best possible defenses for you, which may include:

  • Lack of required intent for first degree murder (premeditation)
  • Self-defense
  • Defense of others
  • Low credibility of witnesses
  • Rage or passion (to reduce the degree of the charge)
  • Violation of constitutional rights during arrest, search, or interrogation

When we represent you, we will investigate every aspect of the alleged crime, arrest procedure, and subsequent interrogations by law enforcement. Our approach is to be your aggressive advocate in seeking a just result. If a charge is factually baseless or lacking the required legal standards, we will seek a dismissal, or at the least a reduction of charges against you.

North Star Criminal Defense: Your Minnesota Murder Lawyers

Our firm gets results, and as your attorney we will give your case the respect and attention that it deserves. We understand that a murder charge can be personally and professionally devastating, and we will explore every possible defense and attempt to mitigate the charges against you.

If you have been charged with murder or manslaughter, do two things: (1) contact us right away and (2) refuse to speak to law enforcement or prosecutors without our presence and guidance. Your future and liberty are at stake, and you need dedicated and professional representation by North Star Criminal Defense to contest these serious criminal charges.