In many cases, there can be different degrees of guilt depending on the defense strategy, attorneys and judge. There have been instances where the defendant could not be sentenced because the degree of guilt could not be established.
One of the most renowned legal cases was that of Commonwealth v. Woodward. The prosecution could not establish the degree of guilt that should be charged. A nanny had killed a child by shaking, and the judge had to overrule the jury because the degree of guilt was not established.
United States law is very strict, and a defendant can only be tried for certain charges that have been brought against them. The prosecutor has to prove those specific charges and cannot come up with vague arguments. It is important for defendants to understand that there are several defense measures that can be used against certain charges. This system makes sure that defendants are tried in a fair and legal manner.
It is important for defense attorneys to understand that their clients require specific defense strategies according to their crime. First and second-degree murder is different from involuntary manslaughter, and if one of these charges is brought forward by the prosecutor, the entire case revolves around that charge. It puts the onus on the prosecution to prove the charges and get a guilty verdict for the defendant.
If you are facing criminal charges, it is advisable to hire an experienced attorney. The attorney will oversee your case and help you understand how the degree of guilt could affect your case.