Know the difference between manslaughter and murder

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2021 | Criminal Defense

When people face charges after killing someone, they may think that these charges are all alike. However, there are important differences between manslaughter and murder charges. People need to understand the details about the charge they face and how it might affect their lives.

Although manslaughter and murder charges both involve the death of a person, the fine details of these offenses are different.

What are manslaughter charges?

According to the Missouri Legislature, manslaughter refers to a reckless death. People may not intend to kill another person. However, they may engage in reckless behavior, such as driving while intoxicated, and these actions may cause the death of another person. First-degree involuntary manslaughter is a felony in Missouri, and people may spend time in prison if they receive a conviction. People may face more serious charges if the person they killed was a member of law enforcement.

What are murder charges?

People may face different degrees of murder charges, depending on the circumstances. According to FindLaw, first-degree murder refers to the intentional killing of another person. Premeditation may also be an element of this offense. This is the most severe type of homicide charge that a person may face. If people receive a conviction, they may face deep consequences. People may spend the rest of their lives in prison and they may be ineligible for parole.

Law enforcement officials usually take a person’s unique circumstances into account when they charge someone with murder or manslaughter. Was the defendant under emotional duress? Does he or she have an otherwise clean criminal record? These factors may affect the specific type of charge that people face, as well as the potential consequences.