The Differences Between Manslaughter and Murder by California Definition
Although they are sometimes used interchangeably by the general public, manslaughter and murder are not one and the same. It’s true that both are considered very serious crimes and are generally closely related. It’s also true that both manslaughter and murder involve the death of a human being. But what’s are the differences between the two terms based on California definition? Read on to find out.
What is Manslaughter?
There are two main types of manslaughter cases: involuntary manslaughter and voluntary manslaughter.
Involuntary manslaughter in California is defined as taking someone’s life without having an initial intention to do so while also lacking malice afterthought. This crime is considered less serious than its voluntary manslaughter or murder counterparts, resulting in 10 to 16 months in state prison.
Voluntary manslaughter, also called “heat-of-passion” killings, involves the intent to kill during an understandingly arousing situation (e.g., during a bar fight, in the midst of a home burglary, etc.). If convicted of voluntary manslaughter, the penalty is 15 years to life in state prison and the loss of the right to own a firearm.
If someone has the intent to kill someone but plans it ahead of time, however, this would be considered first-degree murder instead of voluntary manslaughter.
What is Murder?
Although the life being taken from any human being is serious, by California law, murder is considered more serious than manslaughter and includes the penalty of possible life in prison.
To be convicted of first-degree murder in California, the suspect must have had a premediated intent to kill, had malice afterthought following the killing while committing a felony act, and/or used an explosive device such as a bomb to complete the crime.
Second-degree murder, like first-degree murder, is also considered the intentional and/or reckless killing of another individual but with absence of the latter characteristics. Those convicted receive decades in prison. However, in some cases, involuntary manslaughter may instead be charged instead of second-degree murder.
Call Ms. Mattern if You’ve Been Convicted of Manslaughter or Murder Near Los Angeles
Whether you are at fault for committing manslaughter or murder or are innocent but are still being convicted, Defense Attorney Lisa Mattern may be able to assist. With part of her specialty in violent crime, she has worked with numerous individuals to reduce or clear their charges for assault, domestic violence, rape, vehicular manslaughter, murder, and more.
If you’re in the Los Angeles, CA area and wish to speak with Attorney Mattern for her criminal defense services, you can give her a call at 310-342-8254.