What is Homicide?
Homicide is the killing of another human being. The definition of homicide includes intentional killings, such as murder, and not intentional killings, such as manslaughter. Homicides are considered felonies.
Common types of homicide include:
- Murder (First or Second degree)
- Manslaughter (Voluntary or Involuntary)
- Spousal Homicide
- Child Homicide
- Shaken Baby Syndrome
- Serial Killing
- Assisted Suicide
What Are the Differences Between the Types of Homicides?
The exact distinctions between the four typical types of homicide will vary from state to state. In general though, there are two classes of homicide: murder and manslaughter. Murder is the act killing of another person with the intent to kill. Murder can be divided into first and second degree murder. Manslaughter is the act of killing another person without an intention to kill. Manslaughter can be divided into voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.
First degree murder is the worst one and is distinguished from the other three types of homicides by the fact first degree murder is premeditated or deliberate. Murder committed during the commitment of another felony is also considered first degree murder.
Second degree murder is killing with intention to kill but without premeditation or deliberation. Second degree murder covers “accidental” killings where someone other than the intended target is killed. Second degree murder is often a catch-all for murders which cannot be classified as manslaughters.
Voluntary manslaughter is killing without the intention of doing so. Homicides as a result of “passion” are considered voluntary manslaughters. Note that “passion” doesn’t mean anger, but any extreme emotion which suspends a person’s judgment. The defendant is often “provoked” into committing the crime.
Involuntary manslaughter is the killing of another person not through action, but through reckless or negligent conduct. Vehicular manslaughter, manslaughter through negligent driving, was once a significant portion of involuntary manslaughter and may still be in some states, but many states have chosen to have vehicular manslaughter as a third type of manslaughter rather than group it with other involuntary manslaughters.
What Are the Consequences of a Homicide Conviction?
There are often severe consequences if you are convicted:
- Capital Punishment (for first degree murder only)
- Imprisonment (state prison)
- It could be on your record for life
- Probation or parole
- Loss of the right to possess deadly weapons
- Loss of occupational licensing
- Loss of right to vote
- Significant fines
Likelihood of any of the above consequences depends on the following factors:
- Prior convictions
- Mitigating/aggravating circumstances
- Currently on probation or parole
- Degree of media attention on the case
- Type of weapon used
Accused of a Homicide?
If you are accused of committing a homicide, you should speak to a criminal defense attorney immediately to learn more about your rights, your defenses and the complicated legal system.
Family Members of Homicide Victims
If you are a family member of a homicide victim you should call the police. If there is sufficient evidence, the police will then forward your case to the District Attorney's office to prosecute the person who committed the homicide against your family member.
If you are interested in bringing a civil lawsuit for money against the person who committed the homicide against your family member, learn more at Wrongful Death.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 09-20-2012 12:01 PM PDT
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