What Differentiates Murder From Manslaughter?

On Behalf of | Oct 26, 2019 | Criminal Defense |

Homicide, or the taking of human life, is the most severe type of crime. It could result in charges of manslaughter or murder being filed against you. If you are facing either of these, you need a strong criminal defense. With the significant differences in penalties, you need an experienced criminal law attorney on your side to conduct extensive investigations while gathering evidence for use at your trial. 

Police Unsure of Motive in San Jose Shooting

Police recently found a man who was shot on the Guadalupe River Trail in San Jose and are still trying to determine the motive and the circumstances surrounding the crime. Police were called to Virginia Street and Highway 87, where they found the man bleeding from a gunshot wound, which eventually proved fatal. His death marks the city’s 29th homicide this year and the second to occur during the course of a week. 

Another local man was fatally stabbed with a knife in the 1500 block of Alum Rock Avenue just several days prior. Police are continuing to investigate both cases and at this point are not sure if the cases involve murder or manslaughter. To date, no suspects have been named or charged. 

The Difference Between Manslaughter and Murder

The details surrounding the crime and how it occurred are pertinent in any criminal case but are particularly important in situations where someone died as a result of another’s actions. Murder is the intentional and unlawful killing of another person with malice aforethought. This means that you acted with reckless disregard for human life and knew that there was a strong possibility that your actions would result in another’s death. 

Under Section 197 of the California Penal Code, murder may be charged as either a first or second-degree felony. If it was committed using a weapon or another destructive device, such as a metal pipe or a bat, and there is evidence to indicate the crime was premeditated, you could be facing 25 years to life. Any other type of murder is charged as a second-degree felony, with a sentence of 15 years to life in prison. 

In contrast, manslaughter applies in cases where the victim’s death was unintentional and could result in probation or a lesser prison sentence. There are three types of manslaughter in California: 

  • Involuntary manslaughter, where you acted without malice, the intention to kill, or reckless disregard for human life
  • Voluntary manslaughter, where you intentionally killed another but without premeditation
  • Vehicular manslaughter, in which your actions lead to a fatal car accident

Contact Our San Jose Attorneys Today

At the Jachimowicz Law Group, we act as a strong legal ally on your side in situations where your actions resulted in the death of another. Call 408-550-1732 or contact our skilled San Jose criminal defense attorneys online and request a free consultation to discuss how we can help you today.