Many individuals consider taking another human life to be a deplorable and unforgivable act. However, some events in which a person dies may not necessarily have come about due to a conscious decision to cause fatal injuries. You may have found yourself in a situation where authorities suspect that your actions may have led to the death of another individual, but you likely did not set out to cause such injuries.
Nonetheless, you could find yourself facing serious charges relating to homicide, and you may feel overwhelmed at the idea of such serious allegations, criminal proceedings and the possibility of severe punishment if a conviction takes place. Luckily, you have the right to defend against criminal charges, and understanding the different types of homicide may prove useful to you.
When many people hear the word homicide, their minds immediately jump to murder as an equivalent. However, the term murder describes only one category of homicide. In this category, different degrees of murder exist, with first-degree murder having the most serious implications. In cases of first-degree murder, individuals may have had a long- or short-term plan to take the life of another person. The term premeditation covers this type of planning.
In cases of second-degree murder, the accused party did not have a premeditated plan to carry out fatality-causing actions. However, the intent to take a life may still have presented itself, though the incident may have come about more suddenly. A crime of passion often describes this type of incident.
Manslaughter is another homicide category. The subsets of manslaughter include involuntary manslaughter and voluntary manslaughter. In cases of involuntary manslaughter, the accused party had no intention of taking a life, but his or her actions resulted in the death of another person.
Voluntary manslaughter takes place under similar circumstances as second-degree murder, in that the event had no prior planning. As a result, this type of incident could potentially also fall into the category of murder, depending on state law.
In certain circumstances, causing fatal injuries to an individual may be justified. Most commonly, a justified homicide comes about due to a person acting in self-defense against a threat of imminent death or significant bodily harm to his or herself or a third party.
When working on your criminal defense against the allegations brought against you, understanding the type of homicide charges could help ensure that you make the best legal choices for yourself.
Because a homicide case can have a considerable impact on your life, you may wish to enlist the assistance of an experienced Wisconsin attorney in order to gain a helpful advocate.