Murder vs Manslaughter: The terms explained

  • 2 months   ago

Most of us think that killing another person means murder. However, the exact terms for killing someone is homicide. Murder is a type of criminal homicide, and it has a legal meaning, which is the unlawful killing of another person with a pre-plan. 

That means to be charged with murder; you must have a pre-plan to commit the crime. On the other hand, sometimes you can be charged with manslaughter even after killing someone. This is where most people get confused. The exact definition of manslaughter is that if someone kills another person.

To help you understand these two terms, in this article, I will be discussing murder vs manslaughter. I hope the following information will be helpful.

What is Murder?

If someone kills another person with the proper intention to kill, then it will be considered as murder. Murder is also a type of homicide. But to be regarded as murder, you must have the plan to kill.

There are three different kinds of murder called 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-degree murders. You will be charged with the crime, depending on the degrees of murder.

  • First-degree murder

If you are killing another person with the intention it is considered as first-degree murder. But to be charged with first-degree murder, you must have a pre-plan to kill. 

If you are charged with first-degree murder, then there will be no justification or excuse. Once you are charged, you will be punished up to 25 years of a life sentence or late penalty.

  • Second-degree murder

Killing someone without any intention to kill is considered as second-degree murder. The significant difference between first degree and second-degree murder is it doesn't require any pre-plan to kill another person but has the intention to harm physically, which caused sudden death.

If you are charged with second-degree murder, you will be punished up to 20 to 40 years of a sentence.

  • Third-degree murder

Killing a person without having any kind of intention to kill is considered as third-degree murder. Third-degree murder is also known as felony murder. Third-degree murder is a little bit different from the first degree and second degree.

To be charged with third-degree murder, you don't even need to present in the murder spot. For example, a drug dealer sales drugs to two young individuals and left the place. Those two young guys took drugs all night long, but one of them died because of a drug overdose.

For that reason, the drug dealer can be charged with third-degree murder without even touching them.


Manslaughter is a type of murder that is very similar to third-degree murder. To be charged with manslaughter, you should not have any intention to kill. 

Manslaughter also doesn't require any pre-plan to kill another person. There are three different kinds of manslaughter. Such as

1. Voluntary manslaughter

Voluntary manslaughter means that a person kills another person without making a definite intention to commit the offence. For instance, two men are battling each other, and one of them suddenly wants to kill another person by causing physical harm, but he had no plan to execute. When you are charged with intentional homicide, you will be punished with a jail sentence of more than 12 years.

2. Involuntary manslaughter

Involuntary manslaughter means killing someone unintentionally without any pre-plan. For example, two people fighting each other and trying to do bodily harm, but one of them is seriously injured and hospitalized.

If the person died or was severely injured or killed in the hospital, it will be considered as involuntary manslaughter. If you are charged with involuntary manslaughter, you will be punished with more than five years of a prison sentence.

3. Vehicular manslaughter

Vehicular manslaughter means if someone killed by a car accident, but there was no intention to kill that person. To be charged with vehicular manslaughter, the driver must prove that the accident happened because of negligence.





Through the court of justice, murder and manslaughter are both a serious crime. If you've been charged with murder or manslaughter, the first thing you're supposed to do is hire a lawyer.

Make sure the lawyer you employ has sufficient experience to handle both murder and homicide. An experienced lawyer should be able to help you get the best outcome and thoroughly evaluate the case.

So, I already mentioned murder vs manslaughter in this post. I believe the details above will be helpful to remove the confusion.