Wednesday, May 3, 2023

The Different Kinds of Homicide and What They Each Mean

The Different Kinds of Homicide and What They Each Mean


If the police say you killed someone, and they arrest you, that’s terrifying. Even if you know you didn’t commit this crime, you must fight the charges, and you probably have a lengthy courtroom battle ahead. You will need an excellent criminal defense lawyer and support from your family and friends.

Navigating violent crime charges isn’t easy, but you can get through this if you know you can prove you didn’t commit this violent act. You should also know that if the police say you committed a homicide, different kinds exist under the law.

Let’s talk about them right now.

First-Degree Murder

First-degree murder means the police think that you killed someone after planning their death. If the cops charge you with first-degree murder, that means they suspect that you killed someone after premeditation.

Second-Degree Murder

Second-degree murder means that you killed someone with malicious intent. However, you did not plan it out beforehand.

In other words, the difference between first and second-degree murder hinges on the premeditation aspect. The police still allege that you killed someone, but you did it in the spur of the moment.


Manslaughter means the police suspect that you killed someone, but you had no malice aforethought. The circumstances in these cases, the prosecution feels, do not constitute murder.

Usually, in these circumstances, someone loses their temper. They might do so in a heated argument, such as during a road rage incident or something along those lines.

Criminally Negligent Homicide

Criminally negligent homicide means the police feel that you caused someone’s death, and you did so through criminal negligence. That could mean you committed some act that caused their death or that you didn’t take an action and that caused their death.

If you drive drunk and you mow down a pedestrian in a crosswalk, that is probably criminally negligent homicide. If you’re a lifeguard, and someone drowns on your watch because you weren’t paying attention, the court system might call that criminally negligent homicide as well.

Vehicular Homicide

Vehicular homicide means that you killed someone while operating a motor vehicle. Unlike criminally negligent homicide, though, if the police say you committed vehicular homicide, that means you ran someone down or hit their car and killed them intentionally.

How Can You Tell the Murder Charge the Police Bring Against You?

If the police feel that you killed someone, no matter how they think you did it, they will tell you the charges when they arrest you. They will specifically mention the criminal charge, although the prosecutor might later change those charges if they feel the situation warrants it.

You should regard something like first-degree murder more seriously than something like manslaughter. They’re all serious charges, but if the court system convicts you, you will see much longer sentences for first or second-degree murder vs. manslaughter. If you planned someone’s death and then carried it out, you might never get out of jail ever again.

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