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Homicide, Murder, & Manslaughter: What’s the Difference?

Law Office of Patrick R. McKamey, P.A. > Criminal Defense Lawyer  > Homicide, Murder, & Manslaughter: What’s the Difference?

Homicide, Murder, & Manslaughter: What’s the Difference?

Lawyer discussing repercussions of committing first degree murder to client.

Not everyone understands the difference between homicide, manslaughter, and murder. However, when you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with one of these offenses, it’s critical to know the defining differences. Punishment significantly varies depending on the crime, but if you are charged for any of these crimes, it’s important to hire a good criminal defense lawyer to defend you, like Patrick R. Mckamey, P.A. You will get a lawyer who is trial tested with a proven record of excellence in Palm Beach County.

What is Homicide?

If you are charged with homicide, this means that you have killed another person, but the act can be legal or illegal. For example, if a burglar breaks into your home and you shoot and kill them to defend yourself and your family, this can be considered a homicide. In this example, this act is not illegal, especially in Florida, which is a stand your ground state.

The term “homicide” is extremely broad and can be broken down into two distinctive categories: murder and manslaughter. These are two kinds of homicide.

What is Murder?

Murder is a homicide that is illegal, premeditated, and committed with “malice afterthought.” In this context, malice is considered the intent or desire to do harm/evil to another person. When someone is charged with murder, in general, they are charged with a homicide they fully intended to do.

Other people may be charged with murder because their conduct was considered extremely reckless and resulted in the death of one or multiple individuals.

“Murder” is also a broad term, though less so than homicide. It is broken down into degrees: first degree and second-degree murder.

First-degree murder can be premeditated (the criminal planned to murder the individual(s) before the act was committed). It can also be unintended murder while the criminal was committing another serious felony. For example, someone who is robbing a bank unintentionally kills one of the hostages. 

Second-degree murder is intentional but not premeditated. It can also include reckless conduct and indifference to human life that, ultimately, resulted in one or multiple deaths. For example, a police officer may enter a residential property during a drug raid and blindly fire multiple rounds without regard to human life. This act of recklessness can fall under second-degree murder.

What is Manslaughter?

The least severe of the three charges is manslaughter, therefore the punishment is less severe. Nevertheless, it is still a serious crime that should be taken seriously.

Manslaughter is either voluntary, involuntary, or vehicular.

  • Voluntary: an individual kills another in the heat of the moment without malice afterthought. In other words, they did not intend to kill the individual.
  • Involuntary: acts of negligence or recklessness that result in the death of another person. Vehicular manslaughter can be an example of this or in some cases, charged on its own.
  • Vehicular: a fatal car accident can be considered a felony or misdemeanor. If the driver was grossly negligent, generally, this will be considered a felony. If the driver is charged for simple negligence, typically, this is a misdemeanor.

Get Legal Assistance

Whether you were charged with a first-degree felony or misdemeanor after a fatal car accident, you will need the best defense possible. Consult with the experienced team at the Law Office of Patrick R. McKamey, P.A. It is advised that you seek legal representation as quickly as possible after being arrested or charged for any of the above crimes. We believe that a good defense can be worth its weight in gold.

Contact The Law Office of Patrick R. McKamey, P.A.

When you need a criminal defense lawyer who will never give up, there is no better attorney than Patrick R. McKamey, P.A. As a former homicide prosecutor, he will immediately get started planning your defense to maximize your chance of a desirable outcome. Patrick McKamey represents clients in a wide variety of criminal cases, including manslaughter, murder, and all other misdemeanors and felonies. Contact us or call (561) 220-6708 today for a free consultation.

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