Minnesota’s Five Types of Homicide
Published By:

Minnesota's Five Types of Homicide

In Minnesota, someone who is charged with homicide can be charged in varying degrees. In fact, Minnesota has five different types of homicide that someone can be charged with.


Learn how Minnesota defines each type, what crimes fall under each degree, and the penalties associated with convictions.


First-Degree Murder


In Minnesota, first-degree murder is the most serious form of murder. It is charged as first-degree in cases that have aggravating factors such as:


  • Premeditation — If the killing of another is planned before it was committed or if it was planned to cause another person harm in such a way to cause their death
  • Sexual assault – If someone was killed during a sexual assault by using force or violence that results in their death
  • Burglary – If someone is killed in an attempt to commit burglary or committing burglary occurs
  • Aggravated robbery – If the actions were taken during a robbery result in the death of another
  • Arson – if someone dies as the result of a fire that was set on purpose
  • Terrorism – If someone dies during an act of terrorism
  • Illegal sale of a controlled substance – If a person dies during the illegal sale of a controlled substance


Examples of first-degree charges for murder include:


  • The killing of a child
  • The killing of a judge
  • The killing of a partner our spouse after domestic abuse
  • The killing of a police officer
  • The killing of a witness in a crime


The strictest sentence that can be received for first-degree murder in Minnesota is life in prison since there is no death penalty in the state.


Second-Degree Murder


Second-degree murder is charged when a killing happens with intent, but the killing was not planned before it occurred. Often, people who kill due to an intense emotional outburst or as an emotional response get charged with this degree of murder.


The penalty if found guilty of second-degree murder is up to 40 years in prison.


Third-Degree Murder


Third-degree murder is charged when the death of another is deemed not to be done with intent. It encompasses crimes such as someone firing a gun into a crowd or death that resulted from actions that are considered to show an indifference to human life.


A third-degree murder conviction is punishable by up to 25 years in prison. However, if the death of another is due to the sale of Schedule I or II drugs, then fines are also attached to the sentence. These fines can run up to $40,000.




Manslaughter refers to a killing crime that did not involve premeditation as well. However, incidents of manslaughter are further classified as either voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.


Voluntary Manslaughter


Voluntary manslaughter is normally charged over murder when a killing is committed after being provoked by an emotional response. This is a crime that is often known as a crime of passion. The penalty for voluntary manslaughter is up to 15 years in prison and fines up to $30,000.


Involuntary Manslaughter


Involuntary manslaughter is charged when the death of another person is caused by negligence. A common example is a vehicular homicide where the negligent operation of a vehicle leads to the death of someone else. If convicted of involuntary manslaughter, you can face up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $20,000.


Minneapolis Murder Defense Attorney

Regardless of the charges someone faces, It’s important to understand that anyone brought up on murder charges in Minnesota is innocent until proven guilty. This is a legal concept that simply means the burden of proof lies with the state to show you committed the crime that is being charged.



About the Author:


Christopher Keyser is an AV-Preeminent rated criminal and DWI defense attorney based in Minneapolis who is known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge and named a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law by the Minnesota Bar Association. Mr. Keyser is Lead Counsel rated, and he has received recognition for his criminal law work from Avvo, Expertise, Super Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, and more.




If You Need a Top Minnesota Criminal Lawyer Call 312-338-5007



With offices in Minneapolis and Stillwater, Minnesota, Keyser Law, P.A. handles cases throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area including:




Bloomington, Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Champlin, Chanhassen, Corcoran, Crystal, Dayton, Deephaven, Eden Prairie, Edina, Excelsior, Golden Valley, Greenfield, Greenwood, Hanover, Hopkins, Independence, Long Lake, Loretto, Maple Grove, Maple Plain, Medicine Lake, Medina, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Minnetrista, Mound, New Hope, Orono, Osseo, Plymouth, Richfield, Robbinsdale, Rockford, Rogers, Shorewood, Spring Park, St. Anthony Village, St. Bonifacius, St. Louis Park, Wayzata, Woodland and Hassan Township.



Afton, Bayport, Birchwood Village, Cottage Grove, Dellwood, Forest Lake, Grant, Hugo, Lake Elmo, Lake St. Croix Beach, Lakeland Shores, Lakeland, Landfall, Mahtomedi, Marine on St. Croix, Newport, Oak Park Heights, Oakdale, Pine Springs, Scandia, St. Marys Point, St. Paul Park, Stillwater, Willernie, White Bear Lake, Woodbury, Baytown, Denmark, Grey Cloud Island, May, West Lakeland, Garen and Point Douglas.


Arden Hills, Blaine, Falcon Heights, Gem Lake, Lauderdale, Little Canada, Maplewood, Mounds View, New Brighton, North Oaks, North St. Paul, Roseville, Shoreview, St. Anthony, St. Paul, Spring Lake Park, Vadnais Heights, White Bear Lake and White Bear Lake Township.


Andover, Anoka, Bethel, Blaine, Centerville, Circle Pines, Columbia Heights, Columbus, Coon Rapids, East Bethel, Fridley, Ham Lake, Hilltop, Lexington, Lino Lakes, Nowthen, Oak Grove, Ramsey and St. Francis.


Apple Valley, Burnsville, Coates, Eagan, Farmington, Hampton, Hastings, Inver Grove Heights, Lakeville, Lilydale, Mendota, Mendota Heights, Miesville, New Trier, Northfield, Randolph, Rosemount, South St. Paul, Sunfish Lake, Vermillion and West St. Paul.