What is the difference between manslaughter and murder?
Generally, manslaughter is defined as the unlawful killing of another human being without malice aforethought. Murder, on the other hand, is the unlawful killing of another human being with malice aforethought. The key difference between manslaughter and murder lies in the presence or absence of malicious intent.
To explain further, manslaughter is a less serious offence than murder and is generally charged when a death occurs as a result of negligence or an act that is not premeditated. In contrast, murder is a much more serious offence that is commonly charged when a death occurs as a result of an act that was premeditated or planned.
Two Types of Manslaughter
1. Voluntary Manslaughter
As the term implies, there is voluntarism on the part of the perpetrator. Voluntary manslaughter occurs when a person intentionally kills another human being in the heat of passion or under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance.
2. Involuntary Manslaughter
This type of manslaughter, on the other hand, occurs when a person unintentionally kills another human being while committing a crime that is not a felony nor inherently dangerous to human life.
Two Types of Murder
3. First-Degree Murder
First-degree murder is an intentional killing that is premeditated or done with malice aforethought. It is the most serious type of homicide and carries the heaviest penalties.
4. Second-Degree Murder
Comparatively, second-degree murder is an intentional killing that is not premeditated nor done with malice aforethought. It is a less serious type of homicide and usually carries lighter penalties.
How are Manslaughter and Murder cases handled in Queensland?
If you are charged with manslaughter or murder in Queensland, the police will investigate the circumstances of the death and gather evidence. They will then refer the matter to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) which will decide whether to charge you with manslaughter or murder.
The ODPP will consider a number of factors when making its decision, including whether there is enough evidence to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the public interest and the seriousness of the offence.
Manslaughter and murder are serious offences and can have devastating consequences for all parties involved. If you have been charged with manslaughter, it is important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.
Who can you consult when charged with manslaughter or murder?
If you are charged with manslaughter, you will be entitled to a free duty solicitor. A duty solicitor is a lawyer who is employed by Legal Aid Queensland to provide legal advice and representation to people who have been charged with a criminal offence.
You can find a duty solicitor at your local police station or court house or you can contact Legal Aid Queensland.
If you wish to be represented by a private lawyer, you will need to pay for their services. You may be eligible for legal aid to help cover the cost of a private lawyer. To be eligible for legal aid, you will need to meet certain criteria, including the seriousness of the offence and your financial circumstances.
You may also seek the help of a reliable and reputable Sunshine Coast Lawyers to help you get the best possible outcome for the charges against you.
Should you plead guilty or not guilty for a Manslaughter or murder charge?
If you decide to plead guilty to manslaughter or murder, your lawyer will discuss the matter with the prosecutor and try to negotiate a more lenient sentence on your behalf. If an agreement is reached, your sentence will be decided by the court.
If you plead guilty, the court will take into account your cooperation with the police, your remorse and any other relevant factors when deciding your sentence.
Pleading Not Guilty
If you decide to plead not guilty to manslaughter or murder, your matter will be set down for a trial. A trial is a formal hearing in court where evidence is presented and witnesses are cross-examined.
The jury will decide whether you are guilty or not guilty of the offence. If you are found not guilty, you will be released and no further action will be taken against you. If you are found guilty, the court will sentence you.
What is the penalty for manslaughter and murder in Queensland?
The maximum penalty for manslaughter in Queensland is life imprisonment. However, the actual sentence imposed will depend on a number of factors, such as the circumstances of the offence and the offender’s criminal history.
The maximum penalty for murder in Queensland is life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 20 years. However, the actual sentence imposed will depend on a number of factors, such as the circumstances of the offence and the offender’s criminal history.
If you have been charged with murder, it is important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible. A conviction for this offence can have devastating consequences and will appear on your criminal record.
Contact Smith Criminal Law to learn more!