Murder is homicide plus malice. This means an unlawful killing of a human being done with some form of intent.

In Utah, How Is Aggravated Murder Defined?

The term “aggravated” refers to a crime being more serious in criminal sentencing and nature that it’s non-aggravated murder counterpart. Utah outlines nine ways a murder charge can be changed to aggravated murder: 

  • Two or more people were killed or attempted targets of the defendant
  • The murder occurred in a correctional facility
  • The murder was committed for money. This includes murder-for-hire contract killings.
  • The defendant created a “great risk of death” for a person who wasn’t the intended victim
  • The murder was done to escape custody or evade an arrest
  • The victim was younger than 14 years old
  • The murder was committed using poisoning, incendiary device, or bomb
  • The victim was subjected to extreme physical injury, torture or any type of depraved or cruel treatment
  • The murder victim was a firefighter, police officer, public official, probation officer, juror, judge, or parole officer
  • The victim was witness in a trial or to prevent someone from testifying
  • The defendant had previous convictions for an aggravated crime like rape, kidnapping, or aggravated murder

How Does Utah Classify Aggravated Murder?

Utah classifies murder in two ways: first degree murder or capital felony.

What is a Capital Felony?

A capital felony refers to the defendant getting the death penalty for an aggravated murder conviction. 

What is a First Degree Aggravated Murder Felony?

The aggravated murder felony carries a minimum mandatory of 25 years in Utah state prison. The maximum punishment is life without parole

What’s the Difference between the Two Felonies?

Whether a person is charged with capital felony and first degree felony depends on the circumstances surrounding the murder. 

Should I Consult an Attorney about My Aggravated Murder Charge?

Yes, aggravated murder is one of the most serious charges in Utah. Talk to a Utah criminal lawyer about possible defenses.