Homicide is a term that is commonly used to refer to the various categories of murder charges on the books in Georgia. In Georgia, homicide is categorized according to the element of intent. The most serious category of murder is malice murder or first-degree murder where the defendant’s intent is malicious and premeditated. The least serious category of murder is involuntary manslaughter where the defendant lacked the intent to kill. As you might guess, the most serious category of murder is also the category that is punished most severely.
What is the difference between murder and felony murder?
Malice murder or first-degree murder is defined as a premeditated or intentional killing that is committed by a malicious act intended to cause death. Georgia law also recognizes felony murder,which is similar to malice murder but considerably easier for the prosecution to prove. In order to be charged with felony murder, all that is required is that you participated in an underlying felony. There is no element of intent or malice. If a death occurs and it is related to the underlying felony, you can be charged with felony murder. The punishment for murder and felony murder is life imprisonment with or without parole. In certain instances, the prosecution may elect to seek the death penalty.
What is the difference between voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and homicide by vehicle?
Voluntary manslaughter is neither pre-meditated nor intentional. It is often referred to as a “heat of passion” killing because it occurs in the throes of anger, rage, terror or fear. A typical example is a husband who kills his wife after he finds her having an affair. The punishment for voluntary manslaughter is one to 20 years imprisonment. Involuntary manslaughter is the least serious category of homicide under Georgia law. It is caused by reckless or negligent behavior. The punishment for involuntary manslaughter is one to ten years imprisonment. Homicide by vehicleoccurs when someone is driving a car and causes the death of another person. Malice and premeditation are not required. The punishment for homicide by vehicle is three to 15 years imprisonment.
If you’re facing a homicide charge, your future may seem like it’s hanging in the balance. Contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys of The Turner Firm today for a no-cost assessment of your case.