What criminal liability is provided for simple murder?

The boundaries of this concept have changed throughout the development of mankind, and with it the development of criminal law science. Murder, as a grave offense, was known even in the pre-state era, when people lived in childbirth.

In tribal law, murder was both a crime and a method of punishment. Blood feud became widespread. More often than not, it was ineffective. There is a known case where, for murder in a quarrel that broke out over a chicken, the enmity between clans lasted more than two hundred years.

In the era of the disintegration of the tribal system, communal law appears and with it the concept of murder is transformed. The first types of murder appeared as a crime (relative, child, neighbor); in some communities, killing an animal was also punishable.

When the process of formation of the first states began, the best philosophers and statesmen rethought all existing legal customs and religious taboos with the aim of systematizing them and elevating them to the rank of law. Thus, Roman law, being the parent of the entire legal system of our time, considered murder a strictly individual crime and did not distinguish between its group forms and complicity.

Yaroslav's Russian truth called murder murder and provided for blood feud as a punishment. However, this led to a decline in population, and in 1050 it was replaced by vira, a monetary fine.

Consider murder in the modern sense.

Murder concept

Murder is the deprivation of the life of another person, that is, intentionally causing death (Article 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

The legislator divides all murders into three categories:

  1. Simple
  2. Qualified
  3. Privileged

Qualified murder is a murder that the perpetrator committed under aggravating circumstances, and privileged – under mitigating circumstances.

For simple murder, the legislator provides the following punishment: imprisonment for a period of 6 to 15 years, together with restriction of freedom for up to 2 years, or without it.

Criminal legal characteristics

As you know, if there is no corpus delicti, there is no crime, and, therefore, there is no responsibility, so it is important to determine the subjective and objective signs of this crime.

Subjective signs

The subject in this case is general, i.e. a sane individual who is already fourteen years old.

Guilt on the subjective side in simple murder appears in the form of intent, direct or indirect.

The expressions “premeditated murder” and “careless murder” should not be used, because in the first case there is a tautology, and in the second - illiteracy.

There is a separate crime for causing death with a reckless form of guilt.

The perpetrator must have a clear understanding of the social danger of the act, foresee the inevitability of the victim’s death, or be aware of its possibility, and also consciously desire such an outcome or be indifferent to it.

At the same time, attempted murder is impossible with indirect intent, only with direct intent.

The Supreme Court clarifies that for this type of crime it is necessary to correctly establish the optional features, especially the motive, of the subjective side. It is impossible to commit murder without motive ; in addition, the precise definition of these signs helps to distinguish simple murder from related types of crimes and determine the punishment.

Objective signs

The immediate object is human life, that is, the independent psychophysiological existence of a person. Life is not a right, but an independent value protected by criminal law.

Life has a beginning - birth, and an end - death. It is fundamentally important to legally correctly define these points in order to exclude the possibility of incorrect classification.

From what moment to start counting life and when to count its end is a complex question and causes a lot of controversy. Moreover, in different branches of law it is solved differently.

For example, in inheritance law, a will may be invalidated if it did not take into account the rights of unborn children. Consequently, the legislator thus considers the beginning of life from the moment of conception. However, in criminal law everything is different.

Regarding the beginning of life , legal science has developed two points of view, one of which considers the beginning of life to be the moment of complete separation of the fetus from the mother’s body, while signs of life are recorded in the fetus, such as breathing.

The second approach is more common - the beginning of life is associated with the moment of the onset of childbirth. It seems that the legislator adheres to the second approach, since the criminal code provides for liability for those situations when a mother kills her newborn child.

At the same time, the law specifies that it occurs either during childbirth or immediately after it.

The end of life is also a controversial issue. Stopping breathing or heartbeat does not always mean death, since in this case what doctors call clinical death occurs, and as practice shows, this process is often reversible.

One of the laws in the field of healthcare says that death is not the death of the heart or other parts of the body, the brain, or the immediate beginning of cadaveric decomposition, that is, biological death. An alternative definition is necessary for resuscitation, since dying is not a one-time process and takes place in several stages.

From a legal point of view, brain death is sufficient to establish death. One of the legislative instructions on the definition of death states that brain death is equivalent to the death of a person, and it also states that brain death means the irreversible cessation of all its functions, even with a beating heart and ventilation.

Life begins with the onset of labor and ends with brain death.

Objective aspects

A crime with a material element, which means the mandatory occurrence of death for the possibility of qualification under the first part of Article 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

Simple murder is most often committed in the form of an act, but in rare cases the act can be presented in the form of inaction.

In order to incriminate the perpetrator of murder committed by inaction, a simultaneous combination of the following factors is necessary:

  • the perpetrator was obliged to take actions to preserve the life of the victim,
  • he could do it at a certain point in time,
  • the victim himself could not perform actions aimed at preserving his life.

The most common example of such a murder is a situation where a mother deliberately does not feed her newborn child. But most often murder is committed through active actions.

The objective side of the crime lies in the special impact on the human body of varying strength, resulting in the death of the victim.

There are 4 types of such effects:

  • direct bodily
  • mediated bodily,
  • direct mental
  • mediated mental.

The culprit can use his own strength and someone else’s for this. In the first case, he takes active actions aimed at destroying the integrity of the victim’s body.

This also includes the use of instruments of crime, including bladed weapons.

The alien force is:

  • natural phenomena,
  • animals,
  • machinery, including firearms and vehicles,
  • other people, that is, insane, minor accomplices.

The above examples are the so-called direct bodily impact on the victim, when the perpetrator uses environmental factors to cause death. However, in rare cases, the impact on the victim can be indirect.

If during physical influence the perpetrator influences the body of the victim, then during mental influence he interacts with his psyche and emotions. Example: deliberately communicating some shocking information to a sensitive person with the intention of causing a heart attack. An indirect form of mental influence is carried out using various means of communication, telephone or the Internet.

The mandatory consequences of this crime are the death of a person, and it can occur much later than the commission of the act.

This time difference will not matter if a causal logical connection is established between the death of the victim and the act of the perpetrator. The crime is over when the victim dies.

What is the sentence for murder by negligence, for exceeding self-defense, manslaughter?

A crime committed with a fatal outcome on Russian territory requires serious punishment. Murder with various aggravating or mitigating circumstances is considered in court. If a crime is committed without intent, it is assessed under a separate article of the Criminal Code.

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Features of qualification of simple murders

The main principle of the classification of simple murder is that it is carried out by the method of elimination.

Murder is considered simple if there were no mitigating or qualifying circumstances when it was committed.

Can difficulties arise in qualifying for a subject? Yes, we are talking about the time of death of the victim on the one hand, and the age of the perpetrator on the other. In order to bring a person to criminal responsibility, he must have reached the legal age at the time of committing the crime.

Let's say that on the eve of his birthday, a 13-year-old teenager inflicted many injuries on a classmate in a quarrel and left him to die. The victim died two days later, when the perpetrator was already 14 years old. Is there criminal liability for murder in this case? No, because the time of the crime is the time of the commission of the act, not the consequences.

All situations when there is no life yet or no longer must be qualified according to the direction of intent, that is, as an attempted murder (the victim is already dead, but the perpetrator does not know about it and deliberately inflicts fatal wounds on him).

It is necessary to distinguish between causing death by negligence and simple murder. The distinction, as the name suggests, is made according to the form of guilt.

In the case of simple murder, the perpetrator is aware that his act will result in the death of a person, but is indifferent to this or consciously allows it.

In the case of death caused by negligence, the perpetrator does not wish the death of the victim, but arrogantly believes that it will not occur, or does not foresee the occurrence of death at all, although he could and should do so.

If a criminal wanted to kill one person , but mistakenly killed another, the qualification does not change.

Objectivity and subjectivity

The state protects, first of all, social relations, and only through these relations does it defend the interests and rights of each individual citizen. Therefore, the object of the crime when committing murder is social relations that guarantee a person his natural right to life in safe conditions.

The objective side of murder is the commission of an act (action or inaction) that led to the death of a person or several people, and the existence of a causal connection between the act and the fact of death.

The law recognizes sane persons over the age of 14 who have committed the acts described above as criminals. If the person who committed the murder is under 14 years of age or is insane, then he cannot be held accountable for this crime.

The subjective side of murder has only one characteristic - the presence of guilt in the form of intent.


Despite the fact that the legislator does not directly indicate the motives and purpose of this crime, in judicial practice there are typical types of simple murder that occur most often:

  • in a fight or quarrel,
  • out of revenge or envy,
  • out of jealousy
  • with the consent of the victim,
  • others, allegedly “motiveless murders.”

Killing in a fight or quarrel . A mandatory point will be the absence of hooligan motives. Murders of this type are extremely varied. First of all, this includes “domestic murders” between relatives, friends, neighbors, often in a state of severe intoxication.

There can be any reasons for disagreements with such dire consequences. So, in 2014 in the Urals, a former teacher killed his friend during a quarrel over literature, what is real art - prose or poetry.

Killing out of revenge or envy.

Revenge is one of the strongest motives for human behavior in general, and quite common for committing crimes.

This category includes those murders that do not fall under other crimes, where revenge is a mandatory feature.

We are talking only about personal hostile relations between the perpetrator and the victim, not related to the performance of public duty. Revenge killing is a kind of lynching, since the perpetrator does not use legal means of compensation for harm, if it was, and often, it can be exaggerated in the mind of the criminal or completely absent.

committed on the grounds of blood feud is not a simple murder Killing out of envy should be considered simple in the same way.

Murder out of jealousy . This category of murders occurs most often on the basis of jealousy due to betrayal, imaginary or real, in love relationships between people. However, jealousy between relatives is also possible.

Thus, fratricide should be considered a simple murder out of jealousy, when the perpetrator thinks that the other child is loved more.

Murder with the consent of the victim . Euthanasia is prohibited by law, so murder, even for noble reasons in order to alleviate the suffering of the victim, is a criminal offense. It is noteworthy that the presence of a “good motive” to reduce the suffering of the patient is not considered a mitigating circumstance, and responsibility for murder occurs on a general basis. Another possible situation is when two people decide to commit suicide, and one of them changes his mind after killing the other.

"Motiveless Murders"

that is, murders in which the motive is not established and there is no way to establish it.

Most often this includes ritual murders, cannibalism , necrophilia , but the qualification of such crimes is complex and largely depends on the specific circumstances of the case.

For example, cannibalism committed with the aim of saving on food is, in fact, a mercenary crime, and should be qualified under part two. Some ritual murders can be classified as murders committed for hooligan reasons, etc.

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