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This web page contains the elements of the Colorado Crimes of First and Second Degree Murder Homicide, Manslaughter and Criminally Negligent Homicide (18-3-102), (18-3-103), (18-3-104), (18-3-105) 

These are only the basic elements of these crimes – to fully understand a crime with which you are charged you will need a much greater understanding of Colorado Criminal Law.

This web site is designed to empower criminal defendants by helping them understand every phase of the criminal justice process. It also addresses the different types of defenses and strategies that exist in the Colorado Criminal Justice System.

If you are charged with a crime and seek to understand the new world you have entered – you need to understand that criminal laws and procedures can be so complex that even judges can get them wrong.

Murder in the First Degree (18-3-102)

1.A person commits the crime of murder in the first degree if:

(a) After deliberation and with the intent to cause the death of a person other than himself, he causes the death of that person or of another person; or

(b) Acting either alone or with one or more persons, he or she commits or attempts to commit arson, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, sexual assault as prohibited by section 18-3-402, sexual assault in the first or second degree as prohibited by section 18-3-402 or 18-3-403 as those sections existed prior to July 1, 2000, or a class 3 felony for sexual assault on a child as provided in section 18-3-405 (2), or the crime of escape as provided in section 18-8-208, and, in the course of or in furtherance of the crime that he or she is committing or attempting to commit, or of immediate flight therefrom, the death of a person, other than one of the participants, is caused by anyone; or

(c) By perjury or subornation of perjury he procures the conviction and execution of any innocent person; or

(d) Under circumstances evidencing an attitude of universal malice manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life generally, he knowingly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to a person, or persons, other than himself, and thereby causes the death of another; or

(e) He or she commits unlawful distribution, dispensation, or sale of a controlled substance to a person under the age of eighteen years on school grounds as provided in section 18-18-407 (2), and the death of such person is caused by the use of such controlled substance; or

(f) The person knowingly causes the death of a child who has not yet attained twelve years of age and the person committing the offense is one in a position of trust with respect to the victim.

2.It is an affirmative defense to a charge of violating subsection (1) (b) of this section that the defendant:

(a) Was not the only participant in the underlying crime; and

(b) Did not commit the homicidal act or in any way solicit, request, command, importune, cause, or aid the commission thereof; and

(c) Was not armed with a deadly weapon; and

(d) Had no reasonable ground to believe that any other participant was armed with such a weapon, instrument, article, or substance; and

(e) Did not engage himself in or intend to engage in and had no reasonable ground to believe that any other participant intended to engage in conduct likely to result in death or serious bodily injury; and

(f) Endeavored to disengage himself from the commission of the underlying crime or flight therefrom immediately upon having reasonable grounds to believe that another participant is armed with a deadly weapon, instrument, article, or substance, or intended to engage in conduct likely to result in death or serious bodily injury.

3.Murder in the first degree is a class 1 felony.

4.The statutory privilege between patient and physician and between husband and wife shall not be available for excluding or refusing testimony in any prosecution for the crime of murder in the first degree as described in paragraph (f) of subsection (1) of this section.

Murder in the Second Degree (18-3-103)

1.A person commits the crime of murder in the second degree if the person knowingly causes the death of a person.

2.Diminished responsibility due to self-induced intoxication is not a defense to murder in the second degree.

3.(a) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection (3), murder in the second degree is a class 2 felony.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of this subsection (3), murder in the second degree is a class 3 felony where the act causing the death was performed upon a sudden heat of passion, caused by a serious and highly provoking act of the intended victim, affecting the defendant sufficiently to excite an irresistible passion in a reasonable person; but, if between the provocation and the killing there is an interval sufficient for the voice of reason and humanity to be heard, the killing is a class 2 felony.

4.A defendant convicted pursuant to subsection (1) of this section shall be sentenced by the court in accordance with the provisions of section 18-1.3-406

Manslaughter (18-3-104)

1.A person commits the crime of manslaughter if:

(a) Such person recklessly causes the death of another person; or

(b) Such person intentionally causes or aids another person to commit suicide.

(c) (Deleted by amendment, L. 96, p. 1844, § 13, effective July 1, 1996.)

2.Manslaughter is a class 4 felony.

3.This section shall not apply to a person, including a proxy decision-maker as such person is described in section 15-18.5-103, C.R.S., who complies with any advance medical directive in accordance with the provisions of title 15, C.R.S., including a medical durable power of attorney, a living will, or a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) directive.

4.(a) This section shall not apply to a medical caregiver with prescriptive authority or authority to administer medication who prescribes or administers medication for palliative care to a terminally ill patient with the consent of the terminally ill patient or his or her agent.

(b) For purposes of this subsection (4):

(I) “Agent” means a person appointed to represent the interests of the terminally ill patient by a medical power of attorney, power of attorney, health care proxy, or any other similar statutory or regular procedure used for designation of such person.

(II) “Medical caregiver” means a physician, registered nurse, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant licensed by this state.

(III) “Palliative care” means medical care and treatment provided by a licensed medical caregiver to a patient with an advanced chronic or terminal illness whose condition may not be responsive to curative treatment and who is, therefore, receiving treatment that relieves pain and suffering and supports the best possible quality of his or her life.

(c) Paragraph (a) of this subsection (4) shall not be interpreted to permit a medical caregiver to assist in the suicide of the patient.

Criminally Negligent Homicide (18-3-105)  

Any person who causes the death of another person by conduct amounting to criminal negligence commits criminally negligent homicide which is a class 5 felony.


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___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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