Homicide is the killing of a human being. Declaring a death a homicide is the first step in determining whether the death was self-inflicted or committed by another. In some jurisdictions, culpable homicide is a form of criminal homicide.
Culpable homicide can either indicate whether or not the killing of a human being involved malice aforethought on the part of the defendant. Malice aforethought exists when an individual acts with:
- The intent to kill,
- The intent to cause serious bodily harm, or
- Reckless disregard of human life so that the person is considered to act with a depraved heart.
The culpable homicide could be done with the intent to commit the action that lead to the death, but this intent may not meet the legal definition of murder. If it does count as culpable homicide but does not qualify as murder, the homicide may be deemed to be manslaughter.
Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being that occurs because of mitigating circumstances. The homicide is not considered murder because the death was not done with the required level of intent, and there was no premeditation. The two types of manslaughter are:
- Involuntary Manslaughter: The homicide occurs when the individual commits homicide without intent. Instead, the unintentional death happens because of criminal negligence such as vehicular manslaughter.
- Voluntary Manslaughter: The homicide occurs because the individual was provoked. The homicide does not meet the element of murder because there was no premeditation.
All homicide charges can result in serious consequences. If you are charged with any homicide crime, it is essential that you talk to a criminal attorney about the best course of legal action to take.