What is Homicide?

Homicide is a criminal activity that involves is killing of one person by another. There are different reasons why homicide is committed. There are very strict laws in the US against homicide. However, the law specifies certain acts of homicide as justified or not a criminal activity in a few exceptional instances.

When is Homicide Justified?

It is considered a justified act when:

  • It is committed to aiding a representative of the law.
  • It is committed to preventing a felony.

Homicide is excused if it is committed as an act of self-defense.

Other than the excusable or justified reasons, homicide is considered a criminal activity, and the accused is tried in a court of law. 

The punishment for homicide depends on several factors. Some of the important ones are:

  • The intent of the accused
  • How dangerous the act was?
  • Circumstances of the criminal activity.

The Criminal Code in America classifies homicide into two main categories:

Murder: It is a homicide committed intentionally or as a consequence of the commission of some other serious offense. To prove a murder charge against an individual, the law requires that there must be a clear intent for committing the crime. The intent may be the intention of the murderer to execute the action or a transferred intent wherein the murderer kills another person while attempting to kill the intended victim. The intent of the homicide is assessed based on the dangerousness of the act or the recklessness of its commission.

Besides these, there is also a clear distinction between intentional or felony murders and reckless and provoked murders. The punishment for murder is decided based on whether the act is socially dangerous or merely reckless.

The US criminal code further specifies first and second-degree murders. First-degree murder is one in which there is the remediation of the act when some other crime is being committed. Second-degree murder is where there is an intent to murder but there is no deliberation or remediation beforehand.

The penalty for murder maybe is a life sentence or capital punishment depending on the nature of the case.

Manslaughter: Manslaughter differs from murder based on intent and degree. It is a type of homicide wherein the killings are committed because of recklessness or a violent emotional outburst. The outburst may be an outcome of some kind of provocation. 

Manslaughter is of two types:

Voluntary: This is when an individual kills another on being provoked by the victim. It is an outburst or reaction to the words or actions of the victim.

Involuntary: This is a type of manslaughter where the death of the victim is unintentional. It may result because of a reckless act of the killer. One of the most common examples is reckless driving which can lead to an accident causing death.

The penalty for manslaughter is a specific number of years of confinement.

If you are accused of homicide, it could lead you into a lot of trouble. Only an experienced criminal lawyer can defend you in such cases. Find the expert criminal lawyers at Autrey Law Firm for the best criminal defense strategies.