When some people hear the word homicide, they automatically think about murder. While murder is one form of homicide, not all homicides are due to murder. In the simplest definition, homicide is the death of someone that occurs because of unnatural means. Typically, homicide detectives will investigate all suspicious deaths and determine how to proceed.
A murder, on the other hand, is always due to an act by another person. Some homicides that aren’t murder are also caused by the act of someone other than the deceased individual. These are manslaughters. It’s up to prosecutors to review a case to determine what type of charge to levy against a person in a case.
Murder versus manslaughter
Murder charges are considered more serious than manslaughter charges, so the murder charges will carry heftier sentences if a person is convicted. There are two different degrees of homicide — first and second. There are three types of manslaughter charges – voluntary manslaughter, first-degree involuntary manslaughter and second-degree involuntary manslaughter.
In Missouri, each of these charges has specific points that must be present. The prosecutor must prove that those points are present in a criminal case. Defendants must attempt to poke holes in the prosecution’s case because convictions should only occur if the jury is sure beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime.
Anyone facing charges for the homicide of any sort should learn about their defense options. It can take time to evaluate these options and decide the course of action you’re comfortable with. Working with someone who can assist you is beneficial, especially since these are very serious criminal charges.