Virginia Beach Murder Defense Attorney

Former Public Defender with Hundreds of Cases of Trial Experience

When you are facing murder charges, you will need an experienced and well-connected trial lawyer on your side. Our attorney has years of experience defending clients against criminal charges, and he also brings unique experience as a former public defender. He has handled hundreds of trial cases throughout his career, and he also has strong relationships with current public defenders. He also understands the emotional and mental turmoil you are going through as a defendant and will foster a comfortable and down-to-earth office environment as he works with you on your defense. He will not impose any judgments or stigma on you, and you can expect to work directly and openly with our firm as we strategize your murder defense.

Call Top Tier Law Group at (757) 500-0035 or contact us online for a free consultation to get started immediately.

Capital Murder

Murder is a homicide crime that occurs when a person knowingly and purposefully kills another person or causes substantial bodily harm such that the person later dies due to the injuries. Virginia classifies murder offenses into three classes – capital murder, first degree murder, and second degree murder. Capital murder is the most serious type of homicide and is murder that is planned and done on purpose with evil intent.

Some examples of capital crimes include:

  • Contract murder (murder for hire)
  • Murder of a law enforcement officer
  • Murder by a prisoner
  • Multiple murders
  • Murder related to a drug distribution offense
  • Murder of a child younger than 14 years old by a person 21 years or older

Capital Murder is a Class 1 felony punishable by the death penalty unless the defendant is under 18 years old, in which case they will face life imprisonment. Defendants may also incur a fine of up to $100,000.

When You Need An Attorney,
You Want Matthew T. Morris

Our Clients Are Our #1 Priority
  • Innovative Approach

    We believe that each case is a unique situation and needs a unique approach. We work with our clients to come up with a tailored solution that will suit them best.

  • Experienced Attorney

    Attorney Matthew Morris has served as a public defender and handled hundreds of criminal cases including assault, larceny, rapes & robberies.

  • Highly Regarded

    Top 10% of our class, and we have been regarded by judges as one of the most talented litigators in the Hampton Roads Area!

  • Passionate Defense

    A talent and a passion for defending the rights granted to every citizen by the United States Constitution.

First Degree Murder

While capital murder offenses must be willful, deliberate, and premeditated even when the killing involves a different crime, first degree murder encompasses accidental as well as intentional killings. More specifically, first degree murder involves the following categories of murder: 

  • willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing (lacking the circumstances necessary to make it capital murder);
  • killing committed by poison, lying in wait, imprisonment, or starvation;
  • killing done in the commission of, or attempt to commit, certain felonies (first degree felony murder).

Note that first degree felony murder refers to when a person is accidentally or intentionally killed during the commission of, or the attempt to commit, specific violent felonies, such as:

  • Arson
  • Rape (including inanimate or animate object sexual penetration)
  • Robbery
  • Burglary
  • Abduction

If an accidental killing occurs during the commission of or attempt to commit a less serious felony offense than the above, the defendant might be charged instead with felony homicide (below) rather than felony murder.

First degree murder is generally charged as a Class 2 felony punishable by imprisonment for 20 years to life, as well as a possible fine of up to $100,000.

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He treats you as family and will go above and beyond for you to make sure you get the best outcome in each situation.

Second Degree Murder

All other murder offenses not defined as capital murder or first degree murder are considered second degree murder. Second degree murder will not involve any offense that included premeditation, but it will involve the element of malice.

Some examples of second degree murder are:

  • killings resulting from extreme recklessness;
  • killings committed in the heat of the moment with malice (but no premeditation);
  • killings committed with the intent to injure or kill the alleged victim;
  • killings committed when the offender had no regard for human life;
  • accidental killings that occurred during the commission of a felony or the attempt of a felony other than arson, abduction, burglary, robbery, among others (felony homicide).

A crime of second degree murder will result in 5-40 years’ imprisonment and a possible fine of up to $100,000.

If you are facing criminal accusations of murder, contact an experienced trial attorney immediately for legal representation. Murder charges are some of the most serious in Virginia, and the penalties could result in life in prison, if not worse. Top Tier Law Group can take a look at the facts of your case and help you build a strong defense for mitigated or even dismissed charges. We will also put our legal relationships and prior public defender experience to use as we work on your case.

Schedule a free initial consultation online or at (757) 500-0035 to get started with Top Tier Law Group today.

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Get to Know Attorney Matthew T. Morris