People may die of natural causes or they can die due to other factors. When a person’s death isn’t due to natural causes, the death is considered a homicide. However, just because a person dies by homicide doesn’t mean that a crime was committed.
When a homicide stems from illegal actions, the person who is suspected to be responsible for the death may face charges for manslaughter or murder. If the homicide occurs in the heat of passion and wasn’t planned, the person who caused the death may find that the homicide was considered justifiable, which doesn’t lead to criminal charges.
What is manslaughter?
Manslaughter is a killing that doesn’t meet the legal requirements for a murder charge. It includes two types: Voluntary and involuntary. The circumstances of the killing (and what the prosecutor thinks they can prove) will determine how a defendant is charged. For example, deaths caused by drunk drivers are often charged as some form of manslaughter.
What is murder?
Murder is reserved for homicides that involve premeditation or the intention to kill on the defendant’s part. Murder charges are divided into degrees with first degree murder being the most serious. If a homicide occurs during the commission of a felony act, it will likely result in a murder charge even if the person didn’t intend for anyone to die because of their actions. For example, if a guard is accidentally killed in a bank robbery, the defendant is most likely going to be charged with murder.
If you’re being questioned regarding a homicide or you’ve already been charged with a crime related to someone’s death, you should ensure that you understand your legal rights. This includes learning the options you have for a defense strategy. That’s the best way to make sure that you make decisions that are in your best interests.