In the criminal justice world, there are a lot of terms that are often confused with one another. It’s common for these terms to be used interchangeably when they actually have specific differences that can dramatically affect the potential outcome of a case. The distinction between murder and manslaughter is an example of this that we see quite often. Both are incredibly severe criminal charges that can drastically affect your future; however there are unique differences that you should be aware of so that you know more specifically what charges you’re facing.
The State of Florida defines murder as an individual killing another person, whether premeditated or not. In the case of a premeditated murder, there is evidence to suggest that you willingly knew of your plan to kill another, and that you enacted this plan. However, it’s also possible for you to be charged for murder, more specifically felony murder, if you’re found having killed another while in the act of committing another crime. There is no level of forethought here to the killing, yet your criminal actions did result in another person losing their life. These crimes differ slightly from manslaughter because of the intent behind the death.
Since we’ve already established that murder is either premeditated or the result of committing another criminal offense, then you may be wondering what manslaughter is exactly. This occurs when there is either gross negligence on your part that results in someone’s death, or the accidental killing of another. Typically we see manslaughter cases involving vehicles, where you are either found driving drunk or erratically, resulting in either hitting a pedestrian or getting into an accident with another vehicle wherein the result is the death of another. In accidental cases, you may have done something not inherently criminal yet another person paid for your mistakes; this too is considered manslaughter.
The critical difference between these two is intent. While it’s possible to accidentally murder someone, it’s whether or not you planned to commit a crime, or you simply were doing something that was dangerous but resulted in someone else’s death. Traditionally, murder is considered the more severe crime of the two because there is a level of forethought and premeditation. Manslaughter still carries with it serious penalties that can drastically affect your future, so it’s not to be taken lightly. If you or a loved one is facing either charge, then it’s imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney, someone who is both aggressive and able to work through all potential conflicts that may arise.
At Grozinger Law, P.A., we will fight for you to protect your legal rights. There are defenses that we can employ because we have years of experience dealing with cases similar to yours. You don’t have to do this alone, and we will be there every step of the way with you. Not only is it our aim to reduce and potentially remove your charges, but it’s our goal to keep you happy and out of jail. Contact us today to see how we can best help you.