If you ever spend your spare time watching crime shows on television, it is likely that you have heard the terms ‘murder’ and ‘homicide’ plenty of times. Unfortunately, you have probably actually heard them being misused just as many times. You see, while most people consider these terms to be synonymous, they actually mean two different things. In fact, the difference between the two is that it means someone is saved who is facing a wrongful murder charge from going away to prison for the rest of their life, or worse, being sentenced to the death penalty. In this blog, we are going to be examining the difference between these two terms more closely and explain why it is important if you are facing charges of either of these serious crimes.
The actual legal definition of homicide is pretty simple actually: the killing of one person by another. This definition includes all situations, including everything from a premeditated slaughter to a police officer shooting someone who is threatening their safety or the safety of others.
Homicide can most definitely be criminal but it can also be justifiable or excusable (think self-defense). This definition is important because when noting the event in justifiable cases, authorities will note that someone was killed but that there are also no charges being pressed and no crime was committed.
On the other hand, murder is a type of homicide that involves the perpetrator having intent, meaning the killing was premeditated or there was a plan to commit the crime before it happened. In Colorado, there are three classes of murder a person can be charged with: first-degree, second-degree, and manslaughter. Each of these classes has its own contributing factors:
- First-degree murder involves deliberate, premeditated intent when causing the death of a person. This can include a number of things such as extreme cruelty and/or heinous methods in committing the crime. Additionally, deaths that are caused intentionally while also committing another serious crime (arson, kidnapping, and rape, for example) are also considered to be first-degree.
- Second-degree murder is often the charge used when someone deliberately causes the death of another person but did so without premeditation. These are often the crimes you will hear being referred to as “crimes of passion” or as occurring “in the heat of the moment”.
- Manslaughter does not have to any intent or deliberation by the person who has committed the crime. However, they are charged when their wanton disregard or reaction actions cause the death of another person. This charge can also be used when someone has assisted someone else in an act of committing suicide.
Get Help With Your Charges From a Loveland Attorney
Every unjustified homicide conviction is considered a felony of some sort. Many of these carry extremely harsh penalties such as life in prison or the death penalty (although this is pretty rare in Colorado). When you are facing these sorts of charges, you need to make sure that the first thing you do is hire a criminal attorney as soon as possible. If you are looking for the right attorney in Northern Colorado to take on your criminal case, contact the Law Offices of Loomis & Greene today! We would be happy to speak with you about your case.