People often assume that the words homicide and murder have virtually the same meaning. For instance, if police officers talk about carrying out a homicide investigation, people generally assume that this means they are investigating a murder.
But the truth is that homicide just refers to one person taking another person’s life. This is not necessarily murder, and it may not even be a criminal act. But anything that intentionally or accidentally takes someone’s life through action can be called a homicide.
What is justifiable homicide?
With murder, a charge generally indicates that the authorities believe there was intent to carry out that act. It is a homicide, but it is the most serious type and one that is done with pre-planning and intentionality.
A justifiable homicide, on the other hand, could be something like self-defense. If a person is threatened with deadly force and has to use the same amount of force to defend themselves, the investigation may find that they were not liable for the death. They did not instigate the encounter, they certainly had no intent to carry out that act in advance and they were only doing what they had to do to protect themselves.
Manslaughter is another charge to consider. This is a charge that is used when someone acts recklessly or negligently and takes another person’s life, but they didn’t mean to do so. They are responsible, but there was no intent or preplanning.
If you are facing charges, it’s very important to understand how the exact terms differ and what that can mean for potential defense options and sentences. Take the time to look into all of your legal options when facing these serious charges.