What’s The Difference Between Murder and Manslaughter?
Published March 9, 2021
You may have heard of the terms ‘murder’ and ‘manslaughter’ a few times before, either from a TV series, a news report, or a movie about police work and such. While the two are widely similar to each other in some ways, they differ in several aspects. Let’s clarify the difference between murder and manslaughter to address the confusion.
Murder and Manslaughter as Homicide
The term ‘Homicide’ refers to the act of a person killing another person. The term is used in several topics relating to a crime, but different types of actions classify as a homicide. Most homicide acts, or the more commonly known homicide, are the ones that are committed against the law. There is no doubt that killing another human being is unlawful. Nonetheless, there are types of homicide that do not consider illegal but still have punishments. The two types of homicide are murder and manslaughter.
The first type of homicide is called murder. Murder is the illegal act of killing another individual. Murder is formally described as the circumstance when one person intentionally kills or causes another person’s death. A murder is considered a vicious act when a person desires to inflict pain on someone else purposely. A person can commit three types of murder. There is first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and capital murder.
Capital murder is a kind of first-degree murder as it is also punishable by a life sentence to prison, or in worse cases, death. This type of murder is the most vulgar as it is a mix of first-degree murder and another felony, such as murdering a person while conducting rape or assault.
The punishment for first-degree murder includes a sentence to prison ranging from 25 years to a lifetime. First-degree murder is the type you see in movies where the villain (murderer) plans another person’s execution. Overall, this degree of murder is when people take time to plan ahead and organize how things will go down.
Second-degree murder is the type that was not thought of ahead or not planned. This murder is when a person with malice suddenly commits the act without prior preparations. A second-degree murder will result in a sentence in prison from 15 years to life.
The second type of homicide is manslaughter. Manslaughter is when someone kills another individual unintentionally. Manslaughter is considered a less alarming kind of homicide, although it can be regarded as a voluntary act as well. What is the difference between involuntary and voluntary manslaughter?
Manslaughter is considered voluntary when the person kills another without any prior intentions to do so. Let’s say you wanted to harm another person or cause them physical pain, but instead, you ended up killing them. That is when the act is considered voluntary manslaughter. It is similar to second-degree murder, but the difference is that the motives were different, despite both involving a person’s death. A person guilty of committing voluntary manslaughter may face up to 11 years in prison.
Involuntary manslaughter is when a person causes another’s death due to their disregard for safety and risks of violating the law. This act is committed when a person is killed after neglecting the law, even if the intention to kill was never present. Involuntary manslaughter may include four years of jail time as punishment.
Vehicular manslaughter is when a person driving a vehicle causes an accident that results in another’s death. These cases are usually caused by reckless driving, driving under the influence, and such.
Before making accusatory claims of someone committing murder or manslaughter, be sure to know the difference between the two first. A simple mistake of accusing someone of manslaughter when they’ve committed murder may lead to complications and giving the person the wrong type of punishment. People may be sent to jail or face the death penalty for allegedly committing capital murder when they should instead be facing four years in prison for vehicular manslaughter. It is helpful to know the difference between murder and manslaughter to avoid false claims and accusations in the future.
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About The Author
Krizzia Paolyn is an SEO Specialist with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. It has always been her passion to share her voice, and at the same time, to encourage other people to speak up.