When our clients come to consult with us at Kyle Law Firm, we make sure
to get all the details regarding the case to know what case should be
filed or what case is being filed against him or her. The terms homicide,
murder, and manslaughter all refer to the criminal act of killing, whether it
is legal or illegal. Being convicted of any of these cases can make a
person spend the rest of his or her life in jail or even get the death penalty.
Introduction to criminal law
A case is covered by criminal law when it involves threatening, harming,
or endangering the health or life of another person. Punishment for several
criminal cases can be as severe as a capital sentence (the death penalty).
Criminal law is very different from civil law, which emphasizes more on
resolving the dispute through compensation. This is because the objective
of criminal law is to convict the criminal of the case and punish him
or her accordingly.
Umbrella term: Homicide
The term homicide is a general term used for a killing, literally meaning
“killing of a human being”. Because it is a general or umbrella
term, there are different kinds of homicide that fall under it. The suffix
‘cide’ can typically be seen in other words like patricide,
killing your father, and infanticide, killing an infant. Because some
states in the US still have the death penalty, that act of killing is
perfectly legal because it is done according to the law.
Murder and intent
Murder is a serious crime that has several degrees, depending on the severity
of the crime committed. A person is convicted of murder if he or she is
proven to have intended to kill a person. Murder in the first degree is
a case where the killing was done in a cruel manner, often involving torture.
In several states in the country, first-degree murder is punishable by
the death penalty. In other states, long life sentences are the alternative.
Second degree murders do not involve cruelty or torture; people convicted
of second-degree murders often serve shorter or less severe sentences.
Manslaughter: accidental killing
Although manslaughter sounds more severe of the three terms, it is actually
a lesser crime. Proving intent is also part of getting a conviction of
manslaughter, but the intent is usually just to harm – not to kill.
This can happen if you intend to simple hurt someone but they end up dying.
A case where this can happen is if you stab a robber with his own weapon,
and he dies from his wounds. A common kind of manslaughter is vehicular
manslaughter, which is usually the case filed against a driver who crashes
or hits another car, causing somebody to die.
While these three terms are used to describe different kinds of killing,
all three are still criminal cases that you can become convicted of. Homicide
involves taking a life, an act that is against the law and is punished
by prison or a death sentence – the capital punishment.