A homicide is generally considered to have occurred when the untimely death of an individual is the direct result of the actions of another. There are two types of Homicide; Murder and Manslaughter.
Murder generally involves cases where their is evidence where intent and/or premeditation to end another persons life exists, and/or premeditation, and in some cases, violence or other serious actions that directly contributed to the death of the victim warrants a murder charge.
Manslaughter may involve the untimely death of a victim that resulted due to the recklessness, carelessness, or negligence of another. A motive may or may not be necessary to charge the accused of Manslaughter. Manslaughter does not have typically relate to a homicide where intent can be established. When a plea bargain is offered for a reduced charge of murder, often times the plea offer may be a manslaughter charge, which does not include the death penalty.
In short, the main difference between a criminal charge of murder vs. manslaughter is if evidence exists the infers intent and/or premeditation to commit the homicide.
The maximum penalty for they highest degree of murder (1st degree murder) is life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. A capital murder (1st degree murder may involve the convicted person, or persons to be awarded the death penalty by the judge or jury, depending if the trial is a jury trial or not.
The maximum penalty for a manslaughter (first degree felony manslaughter) conviction is 30 years in prison, and a $15,000 fine.
In order for the prosecution to obtain a conviction for a homicide that involves murder the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
Since intent, premeditation, or motive is not typically required for a manslaughter conviction, the burden of proof for the prosecution in a manslaughter case is:
The Law Office of
JOSHUA E. SCHOEN, P.A.