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What is the Difference Between Murder and Manslaughter?

The primary difference between murder and manslaughter is intent. When the taking of a life is premeditated, a person can be charged with murder.
    WEST PALM BEACH, FL, May 31, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The primary difference between murder and manslaughter is intent. When the taking of a life is premeditated, a person can be charged with murder. When the taking of a life is accidental or done in the heat of passion, a person is most often charged with manslaughter.

Both of these crimes carry heavy penalties, but the charge of manslaughter is not as extreme. In many instances an experienced criminal defense lawyer can get charges of murder reduced to manslaughter. In some instances, your criminal defense lawyer will be able to get charges dropped entirely. In all instances, you will need a criminal defense lawyer on your side to make sure you are treated fairly and justice is truly served.

Degrees of Murder

There are three degrees of murder you may be charged with:
- First degree murder involves deliberate planning, premeditation, or malice. This is the most serious charge you can face and may result in lifetime imprisonment or even a penalty of death
- Second degree murder requires malice, but does not include premeditation. These are often known as "crimes of passion"
- Third degree murder, also known as voluntary manslaughter, requires malice, but also mitigating circumstances that reduce culpability

Involuntary manslaughter is not considered murder because there was no intent. Often the result of accidents such as those involving motor vehicles, involuntary manslaughter still carries with it heavy penalties and may result in jail time, restitution to the victim's family, additional fines, and a loss of privileges such as driving.

When you are charged with murder or manslaughter, the prosecution's case against you may not be as solid as you are led to believe. You need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side to make sure that no stone is left unturned to secure your freedom and protect your rights. Going it alone puts you at the mercy of the justice system. With the right criminal defense attorney, you can help guarantee that your rights and freedoms remain protected.

If you are being charged with murder or manslaughter in or around West Palm Beach, please visit the website of the criminal defense attorneys at the Cochran Firm South Florida for information on how we can help.


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