What is manslaughter? How is it different from murder?
Murder is one of the most heinous crimes anyone can commit. According to the Criminal Code of Canada, under 222 (1), a person commits homicide when they cause the death of a human being by any means. There are mainly two kinds of homicide: culpable and non-culpable. Any homicide that is not culpable is not an offence. Culpable homicide is mainly classified as 1st-degree, 2nd-degree, and manslaughter.
Has someone you know been charged with manslaughter? Do you want to know more about it and other murder charges? Here, we will discuss manslaughter, its penalties, and how it is different from 1st and 2nd-degree murder. You will also learn how an experienced homicide lawyer in Brampton can represent them before the Crown in the best possible light.
What Is the Difference Between First and Second-Degree Murder?
Although this post is about manslaughter, you should have a rough idea of first and second-degree murders to gain a better understanding of the charge.
First-degree murder is an illegal killing based on a prior plan. It is intentional and premeditated. In most cases, based on the seriousness of the crime, those convicted of first-degree murder are sentenced to life in prison, with the chance of parole after 25 years.
Second-degree murder is also intentional, which means that the murderer killed their victim while provoked. But it is not premeditated or planned ahead of time like first-degree murder. Those convicted of second-degree murder will also be sentenced to life imprisonment, with parole eligibility after 10 years, at the discretion of the judge.
What Is Manslaughter According to Canada’s Criminal Laws?
Manslaughter is a homicide that is committed without the intent to kill. As per section 232 (1) of the Criminal Code of Canada, a culpable homicide that otherwise would be murder may be reduced to manslaughter if the person who committed it did so in the heat of passion caused by sudden provocation.
It differs from first and second-degree murder in that the killer does not have a strong desire or premeditation to murder the victim. Instead, the murder happened because of the unwanted situation that happened because of their serious harmful actions.
For example, you run over a pedestrian while driving recklessly and they die. In this case, you had no intention of killing that person, but your actions caused their death. This is manslaughter.
In certain instances, a murder charge may also be reduced to manslaughter if the perpetrator is mentally impaired.
Penalty for Manslaughter
There is no minimum sentence for manslaughter. Penalties can vary from probation to life. (Unlike murder, life imprisonment is not an automatic penalty for manslaughter.) In cases where the crime involves a firearm, the minimum penalty is four years.
It is not always obvious whether a killing is murder or manslaughter. Many times, the difference is based on what the accused was thinking at the time of the killing, which can be extremely difficult to prove in court. Any criminal charge involving murder can carry lifetime consequences, so it’s important to have strong legal representation. For this reason, you should hire an experienced criminal lawyer in Brampton who, with their legal expertise, can present a strong defence at trial.