What are the Differences between Homicide, Manslaughter, and Murder?

Feb 16, 2022

Homicide, manslaughter, and murder are all serious crimes in Georgia with varying penalties. If you are being investigated for one of these crimes, having a murder defense attorney on your side can greatly impact your case’s outcome.

The terms homicide, manslaughter, and murder are all used in connection with a person’s death but refer to different crimes. Intent, premeditation, and circumstances of the killing determine the difference between these crimes. It’s important to know the difference to understand the implications of being accused and charged with either of these crimes.

HOMICIDE IN GEORGIA

Homicide is a term that describes any killing of another human being, either intentionally or unintentionally. It is considered a serious crime in Georgia unless legally justified. For example, if a soldier kills another in a battle, it might not constitute a crime.

Homicide can include manslaughter or murder, depending on the degree of criminality and the offender’s state of mind. Cases involving homicide have severe consequences in Georgia. If you are facing homicide charges, you need the help of an attorney to protect your rights during the investigation and trial process.

MURDER IN GEORGIA

Murder is the unlawful act of killing another human being with malicious intent. Most states, like California, divide murder into degrees, ranging from first-degree murder to capital murder. In Georgia, however, the law only acknowledges one degree of murder. Murder charges in Georgia are taken seriously and are punishable by life imprisonment.

In extreme cases of aggravated murder, the offender can receive life in prison without parole or even the death penalty. In Georgia, if an individual has unlawfully killed another human being under any of the following circumstances, they might be accused of murder:

  • The offender acted intentionally to kill a person
  • The offender kills a person while committing a felony like a robbery
  • The offender acted with absolute disregard for human life

MANSLAUGHTER IN GEORGIA

Manslaughter is a crime that involves the killing of another person and can be either intentional (voluntary) or unintentional (involuntary).

  • Intentional manslaughter: Intentional manslaughter happens when someone kills another person with intent but without previous malicious thoughts. It is done suddenly in the heat of the moment. The penalty for intentional manslaughter in Georgia is one to 20 years in prison, and is treated as a felony conviction.
  • Unintentional manslaughter: Unintentional manslaughter occurs when someone unintentionally kills another person and has had no prior malicious thoughts related to the killing. To be considered unintentional manslaughter, the incident must result from the perpetrator’s criminal negligence or reckless behavior. Involuntary manslaughter is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison. However, this crime can also be charged as a misdemeanor with a penalty of less than a year.

CONTACT AN ATHENS CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY

Homicide, manslaughter, and murder are all serious crimes in Georgia with varying penalties. If you are being investigated for one of these crimes, having a murder defense attorney on your side can greatly impact your case’s outcome.

If you need legal help in Georgia, our defense attorneys at Ryan Swingle Law will gladly help. Contact us to schedule a consultation and discuss your case with Ryan Swingle, our top Athens murder defense attorney from Ryan Swingle Law.