Homicide, murder, and manslaughter are three different terms relating to situations when the death of one person is caused by another. However, each is considered a different crime in the eyes of the law. Intent is a crucial component that can change a manslaughter charge to murder. If you or someone you love has been charged with one of these crimes, understanding the difference between them can help your defense. At the Law Firm of Nellie L. King, we can help you understand any criminal charge against you, including those involving the death of another person.
Homicide does not presume intent to kill; it is the broad legal category where all deaths are caused by another person. This incorporates both justifiable or excusable homicide, such as in the case of self-defense or the defense of another against an attempt to commit a felony or harm, as well as unjustifiable cases, such as murder or manslaughter.
Murder denotes intentional homicide, and it requires that there is an active intent to harm or kill the other person, known in legal terms as “malice aforethought.” Murder is broken into multiple degrees, which carry different penalties:
When a person kills another while engaging in or attempting a crime, it is considered a felony. There is no presumption of intent in the case of felony murder, but it is treated the same way as first-degree murder.
Manslaughter is defined as an unjustified or inexcusable killing with a causal link between death and an act, procurement, or negligence. Manslaughter always includes a lesser offense of second-degree felony murder as established by Dean v. State and is a higher charge than second-degree murder. It is broken into two kinds: voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.
Both voluntary and involuntary manslaughter charges carry up to 15 years in prison, with a minimum of 9.25 years without ameliorating circumstances. Manslaughter has three different categories and penalties.
There can be further issues that complicate manslaughter charges. For instance, a manslaughter charge when a first responder or elderly/disabled person is killed carries a heavier penalty of up to 30 years in prison. Likewise, if a weapon or firearm is involved, charges can increase to up to 30 years in prison. Homicide charges in Florida have a wide range of penalties; if you aren’t sure how you are being charged or what sentencing you’ll face, contact our firm.
A murder charge presumes intent and knowledge of the fact that a person will die as a result of their actions. Manslaughter, on the other hand, is unintentional and without malice aforethought. It requires that the person in question does not have the intent to harm or kill the other person in any way.
Murder is committed on purpose to intentionally kill another person, whereas manslaughter is, by definition, unintentional. Because murder requires that a person has the intention to kill someone else, it is always unjustified. Manslaughter, on the other hand, is either an indirect result in its causation or is otherwise unplanned.
A charge of manslaughter carries with it up to 15 years of prison time, followed by up to 15 years of probation. If there are no grounds on which to reduce a person’s sentence, then the minimum sentence that a judge can give is 9.25 years of prison time.
After an arrest for homicide, manslaughter, or murder, you need an experienced and compassionate team. Let our time in the courtroom work for you. At the Law Offices of Nellie L. King, we treat each case with the care and consideration it deserves. We handle criminal defense in West Palm Beach, FL exclusively, so you can trust the focus of our firm to get you the most optimal result possible for your case.