Violent crimes, such as homicide, have very serious penalties associated with a conviction. Anyone who is facing these types of criminal charges should work to understand the specific points pertaining to the charge. Learning about the possible penalties is also very important. When you are familiar with all of these aspects of your case, you might be able to make more informed decisions about your defense.
There are two general types of homicide charges you can face -- murder or manslaughter. Generally, murder is a more serious charge that has harsher penalties than manslaughter. Murder charges are classified by degrees, with first-degree murder or capital murder, considered the most serious. Manslaughter is classified as either voluntary or involuntary.
When it comes to homicide charges, the intent and any planning are important factors. The differences between first-degree murder and second-degree murder are premeditation and intent. If a person plans a murder, even if the plan was only thought of for a short period, and goes through with the killing, that would likely be murder. Interestingly, it doesn't matter if the victim was the intended victim to be classified as murder.
In some cases, a murder is downgraded to manslaughter because of extenuating circumstances. This might be the case if the killing occurred in the heat of passion. A drunk driving accident that killed a person is another example of a case that might include a manslaughter charge.
Your defense strategy is very important when you are facing homicide charges. The defense should be vigorous and accurately show your side of the case.
Source: FindLaw, "Homicide Definition," accessed Oct. 08, 2015