Murder and manslaughter are two of the most significant crimes a person faces. Although different from a legal standpoint, both involve the loss of human life at the hands of another person. Therefore, understanding which charges a person faces when seeking counsel from a criminal defence lawyer is key to a criminal defence.
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Manslaughter Charges vs Murder Charges
Legally speaking, murder is the wilful killing of another human being. A person can be charged with attempted murder if they intend to take a life but is unsuccessful. Murder and manslaughter are both considered a type of homicide.
Homicide is the unlawful killing of one person by another. Manslaughter is a lack of malice on the part of the accused. In cases of manslaughter, the suspect may be found grossly negligent. JJ Lawyers provide legal advice for people navigating the sometimes confusing judicial system.
As stated earlier, what separates manslaughter vs murder is whether the accused intended to kill the victim. Manslaughter charges are when the killing of another person was not premeditated or intentional. An example of this is vehicular manslaughter. Murder charges require an intent to kill. Homicides where the accused plans to take another are considered murder.
Manslaughter vs Murder is one of the more common legal questions surrounding homicide. The two categories of manslaughter are voluntary and involuntary. Involuntary manslaughter includes manslaughter by an unlawful and dangerous act or manslaughter by criminal negligence.
When determining manslaughter vs murder, an unlawful and dangerous act is known as constructive manslaughter. Alleged perpetrators commit constructive manslaughter after committing other criminal acts that result in the loss of life. Vehicular manslaughter is an example of this type of offence.
By definition, criminal negligence occurs when a person disregards the life and safety of others. Someone can be charged with criminal negligence when that person acts significantly differently than an ordinary person placed under similar circumstances. Involuntary manslaughter by criminal negligence occurs when the accused person commits an unintentional homicide but does so because of unlawful negligence. An example of this type of offence is an adult leaving a firearm within reach of a small child.
The primary factor of voluntary manslaughter vs murder is the inclusion of elements of murder. This offence incorporates an understanding of criminal recklessness or gross negligence. A common term for voluntary manslaughter is a “crime of passion,” when a provocation would provoke a reasonable person equally.
A typical example of voluntary manslaughter vs murder is the killing of a spouse or lover after the assailant arrives home to discover an affair in progress. In crimes of passion, the accused becomes angry in the heat of the moment and commits homicide. By definition, this killing was not premeditated.
Murder vs manslaughter distinguishes by malice aforethought in a person’s death. Murder requires an intent to kill. Certain elements exist when determining murder vs manslaughter. The main element is whether or not the accused intends to inflict bodily harm on the victim. There are other contributing factors as well.
Murder is defined as when the assailant intends to kill or exhibits a reckless indifference to human life. Another common murder charge is called constructive murder, which occurs when the accused commits homicide while committing another different crime.
Constructive murder charges happen when someone committing a robbery kills the person they are holding up. Constructive murder often results in a conviction of 25 years in prison.
Other examples of murder vs manslaughter are conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder. Conspiracy to commit murder has a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison. Written threats of murder are punishable by up to 7 years in prison. Accessory charges added to murder charges have the maximum conviction of life in prison.
Penalties For Both Manslaughter & Murder Convictions
Those looking to educate themselves on the difference between murder vs manslaughter should consider the penalties for each crime.
In cases of manslaughter vs murder, the maximum penalty is an imprisonment sentence of 25 years. Factors such as extreme provocation, self-defence, and homicides under duress reduce the length of time. Consultation with a lawyer improves the odds of reduced sentencing and charges.
In criminal law cases of murder vs manslaughter, the maximum penalty is imprisonment for life. Seeking legal advice is the best way to reduce the length of a murder charge. A lawyer understands common law. Contact a lawyer for assistance.
Call JJ Lawyers If You Have Been Charged
We are a Sydney-based law firm that primarily serves as a defence in matters relating to all Family Law, Criminal Law, & Traffic Law. Charges of murder or manslaughter reach the district court or supreme court. Contact our homicide defence lawyers or our manslaughter lawyer team to organise a free consultation.
Murder vs Manslaughter in NSW
The average sentence for a murder conviction in New South Wales is 20 years. The maximum penalty is life in prison. A self-defence claim is a possible defence against a murder charge. The maximum sentence for manslaughter vs murder charge in New South Wales is 25 years imprisonment. Other penalties for manslaughter include a suspended sentence, a shorter sentence, or fines.
What To Do If You Have Been Charged
With charges of murder or manslaughter, seek legal counsel. A lawyer understands what determines voluntary or involuntary manslaughter. A lawyer also determines whether their client intended to kill or acted in self-defence. Retaining the services of a criminal justice lawyer improves the odds of a reduced or dismissed sentence in cases.
When charged with a serious crime, there are available options. In all cases, a public defender is available for clients who cannot afford legal counsel. Additionally, a person charged with a crime may defend themselves. However, the experience of a defence lawyer always increases the opportunity for a fair and just trial.
Call JJ Lawyers If You Have Been Charged
JJ Lawyers Law Firm deals heavily in defence law. We defend perpetrators or those who may have been charged and are facing an assault charge. Contact us for further assistance.
For other insightful and helpful articles, please see our dedicated law blog, where we tackle other pertinent legal topics and discussions such as ‘What Is Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm? (NSW)‘, whether ‘Drink Driving Gives You A Criminal Record’ & more!