Anyone curious about how the law in the United States works will understand that there are cases where some statutes may differ from others. North Carolina is also one of those states, and it is a criminal lawyer who is helpful to understand just how some laws in N.C. will differ from other states. This is especially the case with the terms, “Homicide,” “Murder” and “Manslaughter.”

The term homicide is used as the legal term for the killing of any person by another person. Homicide is not always a crime, as there is something called “justifiable” homicide like self-defense. However, unlawful homicides can be divided into murder and manslaughter.

Manslaughter is a third-degree murder. It is an illegal killing that does not contain malice or forethought. This means the killing has decreased moral blame for murder. This is why manslaughter sentences are less than murder sentences. This is actually divided into two types:

  • Voluntary Manslaughter is referred to as a crime committed during a “heat of passion.” This occurs when an individual is provoked to an extent that he or she resorts to the killing of another person. The offender may kill on purpose, but since he or she acted due to provocation, the fact that he or she has killed “in the heat of the moment” decreases the moral blame unto him or her.
  • Involuntary Manslaughter occurs when a person has disregarded risk and it results in a person’s death. This means the “killing” is not done intentionally, and is rather a cause of someone’s negligence. This is considered a much less serious crime than murder and even voluntary manslaughter.

However, murder is a different thing entirely. Murder is the intentional killing of a human being that is unlawful. This means it is unjustified and is often premeditated. Murders are usually committed with the intention to harm and kill a person. Some degree of reckless disregard is also present, meaning the person has malice aforethought.

Malice aforethought however does not mean the person acted out of hate or spite. This exists if a person has the intention of killing another individual. This is present if a person intentionally inflicts harm to the body of another person, or if a killer demonstrates some form of reckless disregard for someone else’s life. This all results in death.

However, some killings that are deliberate and premeditated may occur during a felony. For instance, with the case of using explosives. These are crimes under first-degree murder. These illegal and intentional killings fall under second-degree murder.

Those who would like to know more about the specifics of the three crimes may contact lawyers and legal experts from nearby courts for consultations.