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Difference Between Murder and Manslaughter

murderMurder vs Manslaughter

Unfortunately, when you are looking for the differences between murder and manslaughter, someone has still been killed. It may be a brutal homicide that took a deranged killer years to plan, or it might be someone talking on their cell phone, missing a stop sign, and running over a pedestrian. While one event is a heinous crime and the other a terrible accident, someone is still dead. The distinctions between murder and manslaughter are therefore of much more interest to the courts and the killer, rather than the victim.

Definition of Murder and Manslaughter
Murder ‘“ is defined by both English and American courts as using violent means to deprive another human being of life with malicious intent.
Manslaughter ‘“ also has a similar definition in England in America. It refers to taking the life of another human being but without malice.
The most important distinction between murder and manslaughter is the intention in the mind of the killer. Murder is the successful attempt to kill someone whereas manslaughter is the horrible outcome of an unintentional action.

Degrees of Murder and Manslaughter
Murder ‘“ has three different degrees in the United States. All three degrees still indicate that the killer had the intention of harming or killing his victim in mind before committing the action.
1st degree murder ‘“ refers to any murder that was premeditated
2nd degree murder ‘“ refers to a homicide that took place at the same time as another felony (e.g. killing a bank teller during a robbery)
3rd degree murder ‘“ refers to death that takes place when the original intent was simply to harm the victim
Manslaughter ‘“ has two different categories depending on whether or not the homicidal actions were planned before they took place.
Voluntary manslaughter ‘“ in most commonly awarded when the convicted can prove temporary insanity. It is also used if a person has been provoked to commit actions they wouldn’t normally engage in.
Involuntary manslaughter ‘“ is the charge levied when someone accidentally kills someone else while committing a misdemeanor and had no intention of killing anyone. Throwing a brick through a window and killing someone from the blow is an example. It can also happen if a professional charged with keeping a patient alive is negligent in his duty and the patient dies as a result. Hitting someone with your car while drinking is one of the most common causes of involuntary manslaughter.

Punishment of Murder and Manslaughter
Murder ‘“ generally brings a life prison sentence and may incur the death penalty in some states.
Manslaughter ‘“ is usually punished with a short or suspended prison sentence, a fine, and community service, depending on the circumstances.

1. Murder differs from manslaughter because the former is done with malicious intent.
2. Murder happens when someone dies because of a planned murder or the outcome of a felony or beating whereas manslaughter happens when someone dies because of negligence, the outcome of a misdemeanor, or from a car accident.
3. The punishment for murder is much harsher than for manslaughter.

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  1. I believe in “an eye for an eye” and in nothing less. Allowing for the “excuse” of manslaughter by trying to figure out the killer’s state of mind or their sanity or their intent should be irrelevant. What non-sense. This is the reasoning of the British Law that our cannons of law here in the USA follow. We are just as stupid and unjust as the Brits. If a drunk driver runs me over with his car and kills me, I would like that same driver to “forfeit” his own life as payment in full. To do any less “cheapens” the value of my life as a human being on this earth. Additionally, our streets would be much safer if drunk driver killers were put to death.

    • I agree with you completely. The minor punishment for a drunk driver who kills someone is outrageous. That person didn’t murder intentionally, but he/she knew that driving when drunk Could kill someone, so in my opinion, it’s basically the same as intending to kill someone. I find it interesting that in the definitions it says 2nd degree murder is killing someone when committing another felony such as a robbery. Well, isn’t drunk driving a felony? I think it is – if not it should be. Yet, they put killing someone when driving drunk under the category of manslaughter. Why should that felony be an exception. I don’t get it.

      • you guys are so ignorant with that mentality, accidents happen doesnt mean you should suffer day after day year after year in a cell 22 hour locked down looking at 4 walls a toilet bowl and a sink , only an intentional murder should have those consquences you guys show no mercy and when your judged in front of god he will show no mercy on you guys. where mercy is shown mercy is given . smh.

        • I wonder if you’d feel the same way if you, or someone you love, was killed by a drunk driver. You call it an accident, but when someone drives drunk they know they are risking the possibility of an accident that will kill someone. They intentionally drive drunk. The “accident” is not really an accident at all. It’s a consequence of their reckless behavior. I think spending years in a cell looking at 4 walls is a minor punishment compared to the punishment the one who was killed got. And hey, only prisoners in solitary confinement spend all their time in the cell. Most prisoners (& certainly someone who killed someone when driving drunk) watch TV, play cards, go to a gym, swim in a pool, have friends, etc.

      • Wow that is pretty harsh! What if your mother was involved in an accident with a motorcycle and a passenger on the bike was killed, your mother wasn’t under the influence at the time of the accident horrible event that took place! Your mother should be put to death!

    • So if there wasn’t a manslaughter pled you would want grandma to get a death penalty for a identity hitting a pedestrian as the cereal killer johnyrebel cmon

    • Ridiculous. The lack of intent is completely relevant. If you plan to kill someone vs accidentally killing someone, then that makes your actions more evil/immoral than if you did it by accident. Of course that should enter into the equation when determining your punishment.

  2. There are too many opportunities to accidentally kill someone to say “an eye for an eye.” That particular saying comes from the Bible and even the Bible made an opportunity for manslaughter and if you could make it to court before the brother or father of the one you killed got to you and killed you, you would be spared.

    If you didn’t make it to the ‘refuge city’ and present yourself to the court (priest) and if the family member (avenger of blood) got to you first, they were innocent and you just got judged.

  3. It’s difficult to find knowledgeable people for this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about!

  4. For me; Murder is the act of killing someone intentionally….
    It is when some deliberately take the live of another.
    While Manslaughter is the killing of another person by mistake. Especially for a self defence… It is not always intentionally done…
    The consequences for Murder is always are life jail.. While that of Manslaughter is a shot year imprisonment

  5. What is the talk about intellectual discussions on this topic?
    Please! What is wrong with People???
    Manslaughter is truly a less sentence for drunk drivers who kill People,PERIOD!!
    If you know how to drink but REFUSED to obey the law of not driving in your drunken state and you kill someone who was going about their business,then you deserve a harsher sentence.
    I recall a medical Doctor(on his way home from night duty) that was killed by a DUI driver who had left the club drunk. That Doctor’s life was cut short by someone who was out having fun and who knew the law.
    If there’s a harsher sentence,People will be careful.
    If you must drink yourself to stupor,do it in the confinement of your house. Dnt jeopardize Peoples lives.

    • OK. So you are speeding, 57 in a 55. You are breaking the law. You hit black ice, you kill someone… Life in jail? Really? By the way turning around to find out what Timmy is doing to Ricky to make in cry in the back seat is DISTRACTED DRIVING. Also a crime. Kill anyone in that accident scenario and you get life too! Again, REALLY?

  6. This article helps me a lot. Thanks for sharing valuable information. As I was looking for such information, I have found an article useful like this; you can check it out here. Murder vs Manslaughter I hope you get more information.


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