When a person hears about homicide charges, there is often some confusion about what homicide includes. Of course, many people automatically know that homicide charges stem from the death of another person, but there are more facets to homicide charges that you should understand.
What are the various types of homicide charges?
Homicide charges are divided into two categories -- manslaughter and murder. Manslaughter charges are less serious charges than murder charges. Generally speaking, murder charges are those in which the killing was intentional or premeditated. Manslaughter charges are for illegal killings that don't have the required elements to warrant a murder charge.
How are murder and manslaughter charges classified?
Murder charges are divided by degrees with first degree murder being the most serious. Missouri law sets specific criteria for each degree of murder. Manslaughter is divided into two categories -- voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter is more serious than involuntary manslaughter.
Is killing someone ever legal?
There are some instances in which a homicide might be considered legal. These homicides are classified as justified. One type of justified homicide is self-defense; however, there are some very strict criteria that must be met in order for a case to be considered a justifiable homicide based on self-defense.
When you are facing any type of homicide charges, you are facing time in prison. It is critical that you consider all the options that you have available for your defense. Whether you plan on fighting the charges through trial or if you are planning on exploring the possibility of a plea agreement, you must ensure that you have assessed each option carefully.
Source: FindLaw, "Homicide Definition," accessed Jan. 07, 2016