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Manslaughter Vs. Murder


When you think of the terms “manslaughter” and “murder,” you probably think they mean the same thing. While both involve the act of killing someone (known as homicide), there are differences, with the main one being intent. The difference could be harsher punishment and elevated criminal charges, so make sure you understand what’s at stake. You can face many years in prison for a tragic mistake. Your life will change forever.

What is Murder?

Murder is considered to be the most heinous crime a person can commit. First-degree murder is any murder that is intentional, willful, and premeditated. This means it was not a spur-of-the-moment event. The person thought about it and planned it ahead of time. Premeditation and deliberation must be proven. In Florida, the charge of first degree murder an also be established via “felony murder.” A felony murder is murder that occurs during the actual or attempted commission of a felony offense. Some notable examples include:

  • Arson;
  • Burglary (home invasion):
  • Stalking;
  • Sexual assault; and
  • Drug trafficking.

Notably, this means that first degree murder can be established through the selling or distribution of drugs that cause an overdose. As first degree murder is an incredibly serious criminal charge, it is imperative that any person facing allegations is represented by an experienced defense lawyer.

Second-degree murder is when a person kills someone but lacks the premeditation element. However, the defendant acted with a “depraved mind,” which means that acted in an immoral, corrupt way with no regard for human life. It must be proved that the defendant acted hostile toward the victim or had an ongoing interaction with the victim.

Third-degree murder occurs when a person unintentionally kills someone while committing a non-violent felony. It must be proven that the victim was killed while committing a felony crime that was not arson, robbery, or burglary. Florida is just one of three states with a charge of third-degree murder.

What is Manslaughter? 

Manslaughter is a crime that occurs when someone is found criminally responsible for the act of killing another person without malice or forethought. It is a less severe criminal offense than manslaughter, but it is still a very serious felony offense in Florida. While there is a distinction made in other jurisdictions, Florida does not have “voluntary” and “involuntary” manslaughter. Instead, Florida Statutes § 782.07 defines manslaughter as “the killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another, without lawful justification.”

In Florida, manslaughter is a second degree felony offense that is punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Though, as with other felony offenses, the penalties associated with a manslaughter conviction will vary based on a wide range of different factors. In Florida, a defendant could face a more serious aggravated manslaughter offense if the victim of the crime was a vulnerable elderly person, a child, or a public safety official such as a police officer or a firefighter. Aggravated manslaughter is a first degree felony offense.

Attempted Murder

Attempted murder can sometimes be as bad as if the victim actually died. Attempted murder is when a person takes a step toward killing a person and actually intends to kill them. A “direct step” would include stalking or luring someone or breaking into a home to kill somebody.

In Florida, there are two types of attempted murder: first degree and second degree. The main difference is that first-degree attempted murder requires premeditation, while second-degree attempted murder does not. Nevertheless, the prosecution will try to prove that the suspect did in fact intend to kill.

Contact Us Today

Manslaughter and murder both involve killing someone, but one is intentional and the other is not. Plus, murder is often premeditated and comes with harsher penalties.

Accused of someone’s death? Protect yourself by seeking legal help from an Orlando murder & manslaughter lawyer from Joshi Law Firm. These are serious crimes with a lot at stake. Schedule a consultation by calling (407) 661-1109 or filling out the online form.



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