Although rarely used, the term “manslaughter” is bountiful in most legal dictionaries. We may be more familiar with its more grave counterpart, murder.
It can be challenging to sense the difference between manslaughter and murder, as they are two very similar crimes. Some states even use the term “voluntary manslaughter.”
The main difference between manslaughter and murder is intent. When charges are filed for the killings of others, they are generally brought up under murder charges.
The burden of proof necessary in proving manslaughter is not as involved as is in murder. Read on to learn more about the differences between manslaughter and murder and when one may be easier to prove than the other.
The Legal Definition of Manslaughter and Murder
When it comes to homicide, there are two key distinctions: manslaughter and murder. Manslaughter is death caused by an intentional act without premeditation or aforethought. Murder is death caused by a deliberate act with premeditation or aforethought.
Laws for manslaughter differ from laws for murder. Manslaughter is a less grievous crime than murder. It is because manslaughter is often seen as an accidental killing, while murder is a planned act.
Additionally, manslaughter carries a lighter sentence of 2-20 years, while murder is punishable by a prison sentence of 25 years to life. Finally, the two crimes differ in how they are charged.
Murder is always a felony, while manslaughter can be either a felony or a misdemeanor. The main difference is in the offenders’ state of mind at the time of the killing. Manslaughter and murder are serious crimes that can result in lengthy jail sentences.
The Different Types of Manslaughter
Manslaughter has different types, each with its unique set of circumstances and elements. Voluntary manslaughter is when someone kills another person on purpose, like in the heat of passion or during a fight.
Involuntary manslaughter is the unexpected killing of another person while committing a crime. Vehicular manslaughter is the accidental killing of another person while recklessly operating a vehicle. It’s critical to know the difference between these crimes, as the punishment for each can be quite different.
The Different Degrees of Murder
There are different degrees of murder, which are classified based on the severity of the crime. First-degree murder is the most grievous type of murder and is when the person who committed the murder had the intention to kill the victim. Second-degree murder is when the person who committed the crime did not have the intent to kill the victim, but the victim died as a result of the crime.
Knowing the Difference Matters
It is foremost to understand the difference between manslaughter and murder. While both are crimes that result in the death of another person, they are different in terms of intent and punishment.
If you or someone you know has been charged with either of these crimes, it is crucial to contact a qualified criminal defense attorney immediately. Have you learned from this. Read more from other articles on our website.