When someone takes the life of another, regardless of intent or other details surrounding the incident, it is called a homicide. Homicide is not always a crime, such as in cases of self-defense or the state-sanctioned execution of certain convicted criminals. Criminal homicides involve either negligence or willful intent, ranging from involuntary manslaughter (killing another motorist in a drunk driving accident, for example) to first degree murder (stalking and killing a member of a rival gang, for instance). Sentences also vary widely, depending on the severity of the crime and other mitigating factors. For example, some states sentence convicted murderers to death but provide psychiatric treatment to those acquitted by reason of insanity. This section provides in-depth information about homicide in its various forms.
Overview of the types of criminal homicides as well as killings which do not constitute crimes.
- First Degree Murder
The highest level of criminal homicide, typically reserved for willful and premeditated killings.
- Second Degree Murder
Most often voluntary but without premeditation -- often seen as the middle ground between voluntary manslaughter and first degree murder charges.
- First Degree Murder Defenses
- First Degree Murder Overview
- First Degree Murder Penalties and Sentencing
- Homicide Definition
- Involuntary Manslaughter Defenses
- Involuntary Manslaughter Overview
- Involuntary Manslaughter Penalties and Sentencing
- Second Degree Murder Defenses
- Second Degree Murder Overview
- Second Degree Murder Penalties and Sentencing
- View All Criminal Charges
- Voluntary Manslaughter Defenses
- Voluntary Manslaughter Overview
- Voluntary Manslaughter Penalties and Sentencing