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Difference Between Homicide and Manslaughter

Homicide vs Manslaughter

Both acts involve killing another person.

Homicide is a generic term that would refer to an act that involves the killing of another person. This particular act may be a crime or not depending on the particular circumstances. The types of homicide would be criminal homicide and non-criminal homicide. Criminal homicide can be determined in different forms, and this may even include manslaughter. In a criminal homicide, the state of mind of the defendant is taken into consideration. If the defendant is somehow in a right state of mind, the defendant may be charged with criminal homicide. It could also be that the defendant committed the killing with association to a felony.

Non-criminal homicide, on the other hand, involves killings that are justifiable by law. There are certain grounds for non-criminal homicide. This would include automatism which refers to killing someone while not having control of oneself. Another justifiable ground for non-criminal homicide is self-defense. Defense of a dwelling or habitation would also be a ground for non-criminal homicide. An insanity defense is a ground for non-criminal homicide. Defense of infancy is also a ground for non-criminal homicide which implies that children below 14 years of age are not charged with homicide. Lastly, war could also be considered non-criminal homicide as long as the person killed is an enemy of the state.

As for manslaughter, it is a legal term that still refers to killing a person with consideration to the defendant’s state of mind. In other states, manslaughter could be considered a lesser form of homicide. Manslaughter has two distinct categories which are voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. Voluntary manslaughter refers to a person that kills in association with malicious intent. In this particular category, the defense would be similar to that of homicide. Involuntary homicide, on the other hand, is killing someone without a malicious intent. Say, for example, a person speeds up on the highway and happened to run over a person which in turn caused the victim’s death. This particular instance would be involuntary manslaughter since the person did not have the intention to kill the person. There are two types of involuntary manslaughter, and those are constructive manslaughter and criminally negligent manslaughter. Constructive manslaughter refers to doing something unlawful which in turn kills another person without intent while criminally negligent manslaughter refers to abandoning a duty which would result in killing a person.


1.Homicide is a generic term while manslaughter is a legal term.

2.Homicide considers the state of mind of the defendant while manslaughter is more concerned with the malicious intent of the killing.

3.Homicide has criminal and non-criminal homicide while manslaughter has voluntary and involuntary.

4.Manslaughter has different considerations especially in the involuntary category.

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