Murder in North Carolina is a homicide, or killing of a human being, done with malice and premeditation (planning). Malice is often defined as the intent to kill someone. Murder can also occur during the commission of a felony crime such as a robbery or kidnapping.

Is the Murder of an Unborn Child in North Carolina a Separate Crime from Murder?

Yes. North Carolina has separated the crime of murder of an unborn child from standard first degree murder and second degree murder.

How Is the Murder of an Unborn Child Defined in North Carolina?

The murder of an unborn child occurs when an unborn child dies as a result of:

  • A malicious and willful act done with the intent to cause the death of an unborn child
  • The perpetration or attempted perpetration of an inherently dangerous felony, such as arson, rape, robbery, burglary, or kidnapping
  • An act that is inherently dangerous to human life and is committed in a reckless and wanton manner that the act reflects a complete disregard for life

Who Is Considered an Unborn Child in North Carolina?

The state defines an unborn child as any human being developing in a mother’s womb. They can be at any stage of development.

Is Death the Penalty for This Crime?

No. The particular punishment depends on the circumstances surrounding the death of the unborn child. If the person intended to kill the unborn child or caused the death while committing a felony, they will face life in prison without parole.

What If the Murder Was Caused by an Act Involving a Total Disregard for Human Life?

If the murder was the result of committing an act that demonstrates a complete disregard for human life, then the murder is punished in the same way as a second degree murder. This means that the crime is punishable by a prison sentence consisting of 125 to 240 months.

Is It Two Separate Crimes If Both a Mother and Her Unborn Child Died?

Yes. If a person murders both a mother and her unborn child, then the person would face two charges for murder, not just one.

Should I Contact an Attorney?

Even though the victim may not have been born yet, the murder of an unborn child is treated just as seriously as if the victim had been born. If you are accused of murdering an unborn child in North Carolina, immediately contact a North Carolina attorney.