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Criminal Homicide: What You Should Know

Criminal homicide law can be difficult to understand. Many of the legal terms used to describe the act of murder, manslaughter, and similar legal matters have origins in different jurisdictions, and quite often they do not correlate with each other. It is important to keep this in mind when reading or writing about criminal homicide. This article will provide a definition of criminal homicide and outline the basics of criminal law terminology. Click here for more

Definition of Criminal Homicide

The criminal homicide law is founded upon the idea that one life is equivalent to another. Homicide is not just any other offense as it has great consequences.

Criminal homicide is defined in two different ways. It can be defined as a person who has committed a crime causing the death of another person. This type of criminal homicide is known as murder or manslaughter. The second definition of criminal homicide is a killing that was done without premeditation while committing crimes such as war and arson.

Distinctions Between the Types of Criminal Homicide

Although each US state has its own distinct homicide classifications, these classifications often fall into three general categories: justifiable homicide, manslaughter, and murder.


First and second-degree murder are the most frequent types. The most serious homicide charge is first-degree murder. It relates to circumstances where a person is charged with murder after having plotted to kill the victim. It involves malice or evil intent and planning.

On the other hand, second-degree murder typically refers to situations where a person may have planned to kill someone but did not have enough time to execute it. Second-degree murder is an extremely serious crime that often carries a sentence of life in prison or another heavy penalty, however, the death penalty is not an option.


Manslaughter is only charged in situations where the accused did not intend for the victim to die as a result of their acts or plot the crime. Manslaughter accusations typically result from unintentional incidents where a person dies as a result.

Justifiable Homicide

Justifiable homicide only applies when someone kills another person out of self-defense or in a similar situation. This really isn’t a formal accusation; rather, it’s a designation that police can employ as a defense in a homicide case or in situations when a person died but no crime was committed. Because the killing was justified, the perpetrator will not be prosecuted for the death, however, civil penalties might still be applicable.

Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer

When someone is charged and/or convicted of criminal homicide, they’re likely looking at a lot of time behind bars and other penalties. But when it comes down to dealing with the courts, family, police, and a potential criminal homicide lawyer, things can get a little overwhelming.

However, no matter the details of your criminal homicide case, the instant you hire an attorney, it shows the prosecution you’re serious about your situation. When the prosecution believes you are willing to stand up for yourself, they tend to back off and not push for a trial.


It’s important to understand how criminal homicide law works. Criminal homicide law involves laws and procedures that determine what constitutes a crime and how the process of prosecution is carried out. If you have been charged with a homicide crime, you should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately.