On behalf of The Law Office of Gregory N. Smith
Understanding the Different Definitions of Homicide
The term “homicide” refers to the killing of another human being, no matter the circumstances in which it took place. Therefore, while all homicides involve the death of a person, not all of them are considered to be crimes.
If you are worried about facing charges in Missouri in relation to the death of another person, you must gain a thorough understanding of the different types of homicide charges. In many cases, a successful defense strategy will enable a defendant to prove to the courts that they committed a legal homicide, or that they were not involved in a homicide at all. The following are some of the most common types of homicide.
The most serious type of homicide is known to be murder. The act of murder can be charged at varying degrees, with first-degree murder being the most serious possible charge. First-degree murder is typically carefully planned by the perpetrator and completely intentional. Second-degree murder is also intentional killing, but it is usually not premeditated.
There are two types of manslaughter; voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter often occurs when a person had no prior intent to kill, but they did so in the heat of the moment. They may have experienced an outburst of anger that they later came to regret.
Involuntary manslaughter occurs when a person was acting dangerously or negligently, and a person died as a result. They had no intention of killing the person, but they caused death through grossly irresponsible behavior.
As mentioned earlier, not all killings will be determined to be crimes. In some unique circumstances, the act of killing is deemed to be justified under the law. For example, when a person acts to seriously injure a person because that person is trying to kill them, this would be a reasonable act of self-defense. If the injured person dies as a result, the person who was defending themselves would probably not be charged with a crime.
Homicides are an extremely broad and complex area of criminal law. They are so many eventualities that can occur from a homicide trial. If you believe that you will need to defend yourself against homicide charges, you must take swift action to set up a defense with qualified legal counsel.