Murder and manslaughter are both crimes which result in the death of another individual. However, these two charges are distinctly different, and carry very different sentences upon conviction. It is important to know the difference between these two crimes, as it could have very real implications on how you handle your criminal defense case.
What is murder?
Murder is the crime of pre-meditating an attack on another person. It can also be considered an action which causes the death of another in the midst of committing another felony. Any actions causing the death of a law enforcement officer are also considered to be murder. Murder can carry a life sentence in prison upon conviction, because the courts will assume that anyone convicted of murder is a very dangerous individual and a threat to society.
First degree murder is the act of killing another human with an intentional and premeditated strategy. Second degree murder charges lack premeditation but do involve an intentional killing. Both of these crimes can come with serious prison sentences that last decades and possibly the rest of the defendant's life.
What is manslaughter?
On the other hand, manslaughter is the crime of killing another unintentionally or in a situation that was not premeditated. For example, if an individual gets into an argument with his neighbor, which results in a fist fight that eventually causes the death of one of the neighbors, this is a case of manslaughter.
The attack was not premeditated but was carried out in a frenzy of anger. While manslaughter is a lesser charge to murder, it is not a light one. Manslaughter convictions can carry serious penalties that can have lifelong implications. Manslaughter charges can be voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter charges involve killing a human being in a "heat of passion" whereas involuntary manslaughter is a death that was caused by accident and recklessness.
The Importance of Identifying Your Crime
If you are charged with either manslaughter or murder, it is very important that you do whatever possible to identify the crime. At the Law Offices of Mitch Furman, I am committed to representing clients in need of assistance and helping them to fight homicide charges. Call us today for more information!