Can someone be charged with murder if they were with the person who actually did the murder and what kind of punishment would that carry? 72 Answers as of August 18, 2012

This crime happened in Nevada. My brother was allegedly a part of a robbery where him and his friend were going to rob a drug dealer for his drugs. The robbery went bad and my brother's friend ended up shooting and killing the drug dealer.

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Law office of Robert D. Scott | Robert Scott
Yes, because your brother was involved in the commission of a felony that resulted in someone's death, they both can be and probably will be charged with Felony Murder. The penalty is the same for each of them.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 8/18/2012
Law Office of Richard Southard
Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
Up to life imprisonment. You need to research the accomplice liability laws in Nevada.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/15/2012
Law Office of Christopher G Humphrey PC | Christopher G Humphrey
I don't know the crimes in Nevada, but he may be charged with Felony Murder, which can carry with it in some states, like Wyoming, life in prison.
Answer Applies to: Wyoming
Replied: 8/14/2012
Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
First off I am a Massachusetts lawyer and can't not answer questions about crimes in another state. However, I can tell you that in any state it is not wise to put specific facts on the internet, in any form regarding an unsolved crime. I would also advise that you should not speak to anyone about the specific actions that took place unless you are sitting face to face with a lawyer who represents you. Anyone can be charged with anything if there is sufficient probable cause. However, it then takes proof beyond a reasonable doubt to convict.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 8/13/2012
Law Office of Charles M. Vacca Jr. | Charles Martin Vacca Jr.
That person may be charged as an accomplice, and the penalties may be similarly severe if convicted.
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 8/13/2012
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    There is something called felony murder where if a crime results in a murder the participants of the crime can be charged with murder also.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Kevin Bessant
    Kevin Bessant | Kevin Bessant
    Yes your brother could be charged with felony murder or conspiracy to commit murder. Felony murder is where a murder occurs in the commission of a felony, in this case a robbery (felony) that resulted in a murder. A conspiracy exists if it can be shown that your brother along with your brother's friend had planned the killing prior to the actual murder. Your brother does not have to be the actual shooter to be charged with either of these crimes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    Most states have a felony murder rule which means that if a person dies during the course of a serious felony (usually defined by statute) all the participants in the underlying felony can be charged with murder.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Seth B. Cobin, Attorney at Law | Seth Benjamin Cobin
    Yes, if Nevada law recognizes the doctrine of Felony Murder, your brother can be charged with a homicide committed by an accomplice during the commission of an inherently dangerous offense. Armed robbery is a classic example. A conviction for felony murder would carry the same penalty as any other murder of the same offense level.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    VALENTE SCHARG & ASSOCIATES | DEAN VALENTE
    Felony murder rule...committing a felony and anyone gets killed all involved in criminal enterprise subject murder charge...penalties vary by state, don't know max or min for Nevada
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Austin Hirschhorn, P.C.
    Austin Hirschhorn, P.C. | Austin Hirschhorn
    Under Michigan Law the answer would be yes and the penalty would be the same for the accomplice as it would be for the perpetrator of the crime particularly if the accomplice was going to participate in the robbery.

    Since I am not licensed to practice law I am not giving you an opinion as to what the charge might be in Nevada. In looking at the internet I have learned that Nevada has a felony murder law that applies to murders that happen when a robbery was the planned crime. It is possible that your brother could be charged with murder based upon his participation.

    I suggest that you consult with a Nevada criminal attorney who would be better able to answer your question.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    James M. Osak, P.C.
    James M. Osak, P.C. | James M. Osak
    Yes. Brother could be charged with murder as an accessory to the actual murderer. Be careful who you commit crimes with as you can "go down" with your partner(s).
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Law Office of Mark Bruce
    Law Office of Mark Bruce | Mark Corwin Bruce
    This message is for California cases only. Each state has its own laws and rules on criminal matters. In California, for instance, your brother would be liable under the "Felony Murder" rule, which states that if you participate in a dangerous felony and someone gets killed, you can be liable even if you're not the one doing the killing. But I don't know what Nevada would do.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Seth L. Reszko
    The fact that your brother was involved in the robbery could result in him being charged under the felony murder doctrine. I don't know if your brother has already been charged, but the DA can include him in the charge for murder.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Walpole Law | Robert J. Walpole
    Yes, and up to life in prison with or without the possibility of parole and maybe even a death sentence.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Law Office of Gregory Crain | Gregory Crain
    Murder as if he pulled the trigger.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Alvin Lundgren | Alvin Lundgren
    It is call fruit of the poisonous tree. If a one of a group of criminals commit murder, all can be charged for the murder as accomplices.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    Your brother would probably be considered an accessory. The accessory can and ofetetimes does get the same sentence as the principal.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Herschel Bullen
    Herschel Bullen | Herschel Bullen
    Basic principles from law school say that an accessory to a felony, where a murder is committed by another participant, can be charged with murder under what is know in common law as the "felony-murder" rule. Whether that has been adopted, modified, or is otherwise applicable in Nevada is a good question for a lawyer licensed to practice in Nevada. I am not licensed in Nevada. So I would decline to respond any more specifically.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Your brother was an accessary to a felony, and therefore is as guilty as if he actually shot the victim. I do not know what penalties are applicable in Nevada, but first degree murder, at least in Illinois, carries a minimum term of 20 years in prison, to natural life without the possibility of parole. Nevada, I do believe, has a death penalty, but I am not positively sure of that. Because the killing resulted in connection with the armed robbery, penalties will probably be enhanced, so your brother will be sitting for many years to come, at the least. Not knowing all the facts, I would strongly suggest hiring competant counsel to represent your brother, he will need it.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Law Office of Ismail Mohammed | Ismail Mohammed
    I'm not sure what Nevada's laws are, but in most states, where a homicide occurs during the commission of a felony, all the parties involved will be responsible for the murder and will be charged accordingly.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    You need to associate with different people.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Douglas M. Philpott, P.C. | Peter J. Philpott
    Yes they can and they could get up to life in prison. I am unaware of the punishments in Nevada, but in Michigan felony murder carries a life sentence.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Dennis P. Mikko Attorney at Law | Dennis P. Mikko
    In Michigan, the person witht he murder could be charged as an accessory and could receive the same punishment as if he actually did the murder.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Law Office of William L Spern | William Spern
    Don't know Nevada law. But, generally a person who participates in a crime wherein a murder occurs, the person can be and usually is charged with felony-murder.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Yes, here in Michigan he is guilty of murder like the shooter, but this happened in Nevada. You should post it there to get the proper advice.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein | Neal L. Weinstein
    Yes, it's called felony murder, although I don't know if that is the case in Nevada, but I suspect it is. It means that if you are in the process of a felony, like robbery, and someone gets killed, like a cop, or a cop kills someone by accidental shooting, the robbers can be charged with the murder charge as in felony-murder.
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    Your brother is guilty of Murder in the Second Degree under the felony murder rule. If you commit a crime and are an accessory or accomplice you are just as guilty of murder as the person who pulled the trigger or caused the death of anyone other than a participant to the crime. If he is convicted at trial he will be sentenced to 20-life or 25-life or life without parole and spend the rest of is life in prison. He may be offered a plea deal if the case is weak or they need him to testify.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Yes, it's called the "felony murder" rule.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    MatthewR. Schutz, Esq | Matthew R. Schutz
    He could be charged with murder. There is a concept called felony murder. If someone dies in connection with commission of a felony, then every one involved with the crime could be charged with murder. The Classic example of this are people who are acting as a look out or driver who has no other involvement.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Larry K. Dunn & Associates | Larry K. Dunn
    A person who is involved in a felony in which someone is murdered may be charged as a principal, that is charged as though they had committed the murder under a theory called the felony murder rule.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Your brother will also be charged for the murder too.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Yes. But why would you ask your question in CA when NV rules apply to NV crimes? Generally conspirators and accomplices can get the same penalty as the rest of the participants in the crime. If a death occurred in the crime, even unintended, it becomes felony murder.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Law Offices of Mitch Furman | Mitch Furman
    Your brother can be charged with felony murder. If you are committing a felony during which someone murders another person. Everybody who was involved in committing a felony can be charged with murder.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    The facts you describe is chargeable as a Felony Murder. The potential penalty could be life in prison. Yes, he could be charged.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    Your brother will be charged with felony murder, which carries a life sentence. While planning to commit a felony, a murder occurred.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    You need to re-ask this question in a Nevada forum. Washington lawyers will now necessarily know the ins and outs of Nevada law but in Washington, an accomplice is generally just as guilty of murder as the one who pulled the trigger.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    Yes. Law of parties. You are in conspiracy and responsible for the crimes of your fellow conspirators. Depending on the murder could carry life, life without parole, or even a death sentence. Use you right to remain silent and hire a better lawyer than your buddy.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    One can be charged with a crime under the accomplice theory. An accomplice who has knowledge of the crime about to be committed and aid and abets same is responsible for the natural consequences of same. Robbery frequently leads to murder.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Law Office of Jared C. Winter
    Law Office of Jared C. Winter | Jared C. Winter
    Even though a person isn't the actual triggerman, they can still be charged with murder under certain circumstances. Nevada law likely has it's own variations of things like accomplice liability and the felony murder rule. Both of these theories of liability could potentially result in murder charges, based on the facts you've stated. Though this may go without saying, your brother needs an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C.
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. | Stuart M. Nachbar
    In NJ it would accessory, and possibly felony murder, as he was there and it seems that he conspired to assist in the crime.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    Natty Shafer Law
    Natty Shafer Law | Nathaniel Shafer
    Yes, your brother can be charged with murder.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Thomas C. Brandstrader Attorney At Law | Thomas C. Brandstrader
    if one intended the result and aided in commission before or during the offense ..one can be held accountable for the murder as if he pulled the trigger...depending on background sentence can be up to life in prison...this person should seek qualified criminal representation immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Law Offices of David L. Smith
    Law Offices of David L. Smith | David Lee Smith
    Your brother could be held equally responsible for the homicide because it took place during and for the robbery.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Jason Overton, Attorney at Law
    Jason Overton, Attorney at Law | Jason Overton
    Probably. Each state has its own criminal code, but, as far as I know, every state has a Felony Murder Rule. This basically says that if someone dies while you're involved in the commission of a crime where death can reasonably be anticipated, you can be charged with murder, even if you didn't plan on anyone dying. This should be no surprise, but armed robbery is one of those crimes in which death is not a very surprising result.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    If Nevada's laws on co-participant liability are the same as ours in California, then yes, your brother could face murder charges based on a "felony murder" rule. That essentially states that if, during the commission of an inherently dangerous felony (robbery), a killing results, then the killing can be charged as murder under an implied malice theory
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Yes he can be charged with murder. In fact, if his partner was shot and killed by the drug dealer protecting himself, your brother could be charged with the murder of his partner. Makes no sense but most laws don't.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey | Michael E. Dailey
    It is called felony murder. It happens when one of several participating actors commits a crime (felony) and someone is killed as a direct result of the commission of the crime. All participants could be charged with felony murder regardless of which one actually caused the death.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
    I don't know Nevada law but in California your brother can be charged with murder, but cannot be sentenced to death.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    John P Yetter | John Yetter
    Under accountability theory a person with someone charged with Murder can be found guilty of murder themselves, and the punishment can be the same (or in some cases less) than the murderer.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Law Offices of Steven R. Decker
    Law Offices of Steven R. Decker | Steven Decker
    He is subject to a murder charge, although he would probably get a lesser sentence than the shooter, it will still be significant under the felony-murder rule. Otherwise described as "in for a penny, in for a pound."
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Salladay Law Office | Lance Salladay
    I cannot speak to Nevada law specifically, but in many states (and I assume Nevada) this would be considered ""felony murder", if your brother was a part of the criminal enterprise that ended up with a murder, then he can be charged just the same as the person that pulled the trigger- the sentence would be the same as the person who actually did the killing- but I don't know the penalties in Nevada- I would assume at least life in prison as a maximum
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    Murder in the 2nd Degree aka Felony Murder is designed for the situation you describe.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Fairlie & Lippy, P.C.
    Fairlie & Lippy, P.C. | Steven Fairlie
    I can't advise you on Nevada, but in Pennsylvania you can be charged with Murder if you assisted the person who killed the victim. That charge carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    Yes, it's called felony murder
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    That, in Michigan, is a felony murder and your brother can be charged with that even though he did not actually undertake the homicidal act. The penalty will be in accord with Michigan is equivalent to 1st Degree and therefore up to life, Nevada law is probably the same it may have the death penalty. Your brother is in grave trouble and needs a very good attorney to have any hope at all.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The crime you describe, at least in California, is felony murder. Brother could be facing life in prison. I do not know if Nevada law provides for the desath penalty in this circumstance. Murder in the course of a robbery could be a special circumstance.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    I don't know about the law in Nevada, but if that crime happened in Georgia, your brother would be charged with murder and would be facing the same punishment as the person that pulled the trigger, life in prison or death if the circumstances warranted it. It is possible that Nevada has similar laws.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    THOMAS G. GILL, P.A. | Thomas G Gill
    Yes. If someone dies while you are commiting a felony, you are guilty of felony murder
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    THE LOCKHART LAW FIRM | CLAYTON LOCKHART
    In most jurisdictions your brother would be charged as either a principal, since he was a participant in the robbery, or he can be charged as an accessory (or an accomplice). Either way, he would be facing the same penalties for the murder that the person who did the actual shooting since your brother was not an innocent bystander here.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Clos, Russell & Wirth, P.C. | Gary A. Russell
    Nevada law would apply in this situation. However, if it happened in Michigan, he could be charged with murder just as well, as an accomplice, even if he did not physically commit the offense.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Randall M. England, Attorney at Law
    Randall M. England, Attorney at Law | Randall M. England
    Yes, a person who is an accomplice in the commission of any felony can be charged with felony murder if someone is killed during the course of the felony. In Missouri, this is a class A felony with a maximum penalty of life in prison.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    It is possible to be charged as a conspirator or as an accomplice or with the murder itself if it occurred to the commission of another felony. The latter is called felony murder.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Law Office of James E. Smith
    Law Office of James E. Smith | James Smith
    Under the felony murder rule if a murder happens during the commission of a felony anyone involved in the felony can also be charged with first degree murder.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    The Jordan Law Firm
    The Jordan Law Firm | John Paul Jordan
    Generally under conspiracy law. Any person who is part of a criminal act can be charged with all the criminal acts committed in pursuit of that criminal act. Your brother needs to cut a deal as fast as possible.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith | Mark L. Smith
    Your brother has a real problem if he was present at the time of the robbery, that fact itself is not enough, but you indicate it was a robbery that went bad then your brother is in for a penny and in for a pound. In other words he can be charged with felony murder a robbery that occurred and someone was killed. Even if he was not present he could still be charged with conspiracy and aiding and abetting. So yes your brother can be charged with murder.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    You need to ask this of a Nevada lawyer because each state is different but in Texas, your brother could be charged with Murder 1 under these facts.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Hedges & Tumposky
    Hedges & Tumposky | Michael Tumposky
    Yes, under a theory of felony murder, if you participate in a serious felony and it results in death you can be charged and convicted of murder as if you yourself pulled the trigger.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Mary W Craig P.C. | Mary W Craig
    Unfortunately for your friend, unless Nevada doesn't follow the rest of the country, your friend is just as guilty of murder as the one who pulled the trigger. The DA may not charge him with straight murder, however, a crime that carries the element of intent. More than likely, the DA will charge your friend with felony murder because the death occurred in the process of robbery, a felony. Your friend needs a good lawyer who can negotiate with the DA and try to get the charge down to some form of manslaughter.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/9/2012
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