Code of the District of Columbia

§ 22–2104. Penalty for murder in first and second degrees.

(a) The punishment for murder in the first degree shall be not less than 30 years nor more than life imprisonment without release, except that the court may impose a prison sentence in excess of 60 years only in accordance with § 22-2104.01 or § 24-403.01(b-2). The prosecution shall notify the defendant in writing at least 30 days prior to trial that it intends to seek a sentence of life imprisonment without release as provided in § 22-2104.01; provided that, no person who was less than 18 years of age at the time the murder was committed shall be sentenced to life imprisonment without release.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person convicted of murder in the first degree shall not be released from prison prior to the expiration of 30 years from the date of the commencement of the sentence.

(c) Whoever is guilty of murder in the second degree shall be sentenced to a period of incarceration of not more than life, except that the court may impose a prison sentence in excess of 40 years only in accordance with § 24-403.01(b-2).

(d) For purposes of imprisonment following revocation of release authorized by § 24-403.01(b)(7), murder in the first degree and murder in the second degree are Class A felonies.

(e) In addition to any other penalty provided under this section, a person may be fined an amount not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01.


(Mar. 3, 1901, 31 Stat. 1321, ch. 854, § 801; Jan. 30, 1925, 43 Stat. 798, ch. 115, § 1; Mar. 22, 1962, 76 Stat. 46, Pub. L. 87-423, § 1; Feb. 26, 1981, D.C. Law 3-113, § 2, 27 DCR 5624; Sept. 26, 1992, D.C. Law 9-153, § 2(b), (c), 39 DCR 3868; May 23, 1995, D.C. Law 10-256, § 2(a), 42 DCR 20; June 8, 2001, D.C. Law 13-302, § 4(d), 47 DCR 7249; June 11, 2013, D.C. Law 19-317, § 303(a), 60 DCR 2064.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-2404.

1973 Ed., § 22-2404.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 22-2104.01, § 22-4502, § 24-112, and § 24-221.06.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-302 rewrote the section which had read:

“(a) The punishment for murder in the first degree shall be life imprisonment, except that the court may impose a punishment of life imprisonment without parole in accordance with § 22-2104.1. The prosecution shall notify the defendant in writing at least 30 days prior to trial that it intends to seek a sentence of life imprisonment without parole as provided in § 22-2104.1; provided that, no person who was less than 18 years of age at the time the murder was committed shall be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

“(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person convicted of murder in the first degree and upon whom a sentence of life imprisonment is imposed shall be eligible for parole only after the expiration of 30 years from the date of the commencement of the sentence.

“(c) Whoever is guilty of murder in the second degree shall be sentenced to a maximum period of incarceration of not less than 20 years and not more than life. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, where the maximum sentence imposed is life imprisonment, a minimum sentence shall be imposed which shall not exceed 20 years imprisonment.”

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-317 added (e).

Cross References

Committing crime when armed, additional penalty, see §§ 22-4501 and 22-4502.

Good time credits, exceptions, see § 24-434.

Minimum sentence upon imposition of life imprisonment, see § 24-403.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 4(d) of the Sentencing Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-410, August 11, 2000, 47 DCR 7271).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 4(d) of the Sentencing Reform Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 13-462, November 7, 2000, 47 DCR 9443).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 4(d) of Sentencing Reform Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-2, February 2, 2001, 48 DCR 2239).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 4(d) of Sentencing Reform Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-51, May 2, 2001, 48 DCR 4370).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 303(a) of the Criminal Fine Proportionality Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-45, April 1, 2013, 60 DCR 5400, 20 DCSTAT 1300).

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 19-317: Section 401 of D.C. Law 19-317 provided that the act shall apply only to offenses committed on or after June 11, 2013.