Murder vs Manslaughter: The Ultimate Guide from Legal Expert

Murder vs Manslaughter

Murder vs manslaughter is essential to learn, especially if you are a law student. This is because there are no signs to slight differences between the two crimes. And therefore, even many experienced lawyers make a mistake while defining them.

Take a moment to be here and know everything with clarification.

Murder vs Manslaughter: Complete Differences

The topic “difference between murder and manslaughter” would be somewhat tricky for people who are not from a law background. But as more often people commit such a crime, it is essential to learn the complete differences between them. Moreover, it will also be helpful if anyone around you likes friends or family are related to such an issue.

Murder Definition

Murder is a crime, which means killing someone with a full-proof plan or killing despite knowing that he would be in trouble after the victim dies. As there are a few types of murder, the punishment is also different based on the types.

Types of Murder

There are three types of murder. And due to different situations and conditions, the type changes. Below they are described, and examples are given.

1. First Degree Murder

When a person intentionally aims to kill another person, and as a result, the attacked person dies, it will be considered first-degree murder. Therefore, to complete this action, planning is necessary. Moreover, it is also essential to know that the punishment for this crime is life imprisonment.

Usually, it is said that due to mental disorders and to take revenge, some people perform this crime. For instance, a girl is constantly being bullied by her classmate. And the level has gone so high that she cannot take it anymore.

Her self-esteem is also distorted, and she wants to get rid of it at the earliest possible time. Therefore, she started to make a plan to take revenge. At first, she started observing all the activities, like her classmate’s daily schedule, for a couple of days.

However, her main purpose was to look for a perfect time and kill him (the classmate). And one day, he was found dead.

2. Second Degree Murder

When a person does not want to kill the other but only for his carelessness, he (the other person) dies, then it will be known as second-degree murder. Therefore, it is reckless to abandon. Moreover, it does not need any planning as it happens all of a sudden.

The punishment for this crime is nothing less than life imprisonment, which is about 40 years of imprisonment. The reasons behind committing this crime would be sudden temper and inattention.

For instance, two friends were arguing on an issue. Suddenly, one of them broke a bottle of wine on the other’s head without any intention. The attack might look normal, but the influence was so vigorous that the injured person died at that moment or after a couple of hours.

3. Third Degree Murder

The other name of third-degree murder is manslaughter. So, when a person kills another due to criminal abandonment or in the heat of an instant, it is known as third-degree murder. Generally, there are two types of third-degree murder; voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.

It does not require any planning to do the murder. And the punishment for this is about a maximum of $40,000 fine or the highest 25 years imprisonment. The core reasons behind committing this crime would be for violating the law or instant anger.

We will discuss further below with examples. So, keep reading.


Criminal Code of Murder

Some criminal code of murder according to Canada are given below:

  • Section 229 – a person responsible for other’s bodily harm or death.
  • Section 231(7) – 1st degree and 2nd degree murders are different.
  • Section 240 – the maximum punishment for murder is life imprisonment.
  • Section 662 – the judges decide whether it is 1st degree or 2nd degree murder.

Criminal Charges of Murder

The court or the judge decides criminal charges after the completion of the murder case investigation. However, it is seen that the defaulter or the murderer remains out of the city or province to get rid of the criminal charge. According to the USA, the criminal charges would be:

  • Generally, life imprisonment for committing 1st degree murder
  • Less than life imprisonment for 2nd degree murder; a term of years

According to Canada, the criminal charges would be:

  • If an immature child (under 18) commits 1st degree murder, s/he might be punished for 10 years in jail, and for 2nd degree murder, it is 7 years
  • Life imprisonment for 1st degree murder
  • Maximum 40 years in jail for 2nd degree murder
  • Maximum 25 years in jail for 3rd degree murder

Punishments for Murder: Sentences from Court

Punishments for murders will differ due to the situation and the place. Maybe the one that is applicable in Canada is not the same for America or the UK. For instance, in the UK,

  • Life imprisonment (multiple/child murders/sexual etc.)
  • 30 years (firearms, police, etc.)
  • 15 years (any other murder types)

Manslaughter Definition

It has already been stated above that the other name of 3rd degree murder is manslaughter. But the difference is in the use of the term according to the area. Therefore, in Canada, they use the term 3rd-degree murder, and in America, they call it manslaughter.


Types of Manslaughter

There are two types of manslaughter. According to the type of the crime, the punishment will differ. So, they are described below with examples.

1. Voluntary Manslaughter

When a crime is committed in the heat of the moment, it is known as voluntary manslaughter. Therefore, no pre-planning is required here as well. For example, due to anger, a spouse may murder someone who is having an extra-marital affair with the other spouse.

2. Involuntary Manslaughter

When a crime is committed due to violating any law, it is known as involuntary manslaughter. Here also, no planning is required. For instance, people with vehicles need to abide by all the rules whenever they are on the road. But if they kill pedestrians due to reckless driving and not following the traffic signal, it will be considered involuntary manslaughter.

Criminal Code of Manslaughter

Like murder, manslaughter also has some criminal code. Some of those are as follows:

  • Section 234 – murder is not manslaughter
  • Section 236 – the maximum punishment for manslaughter is life imprisonment, and the minimum punishment is 3 to 4 years

Criminal Charges of Manslaughter

Sometimes it is seen that the people with manslaughter charges are called murderers. However, according to the USA, the criminal charges would be:

  • 15 years in jail for voluntary manslaughter, and in some cases additional $30,000 fine needs to be paid
  • 10 years in jail for involuntary manslaughter, and in some cases additional $20,000 fine needs to be paid

Punishments for Manslaughter: Sentences from Court

Punishments for manslaughters will also differ due to the different conditions and the place. Therefore, it might be all different or somewhat different for Canada, America, the UK, and other countries. For instance, in Canada.

  • Voluntary manslaughter- 3, 6, 11, or 25 years of imprisonment
  • Involuntary manslaughter- at least 10 to 16 months of imprisonment and additional fines after a proper calculation of the harm

The Bottom Line

Both murder and manslaughter are heinous crimes, and the result is also very awful. The defaulter either needs to go to jail for a minimum of 3 years to life imprisonment or needs to pay lots of fines, maybe which is even impossible for him. Other than all this, a person does not have a right to take away others’ lives.

There are laws in every country that will decide the punishment if anyone has done anything wrong. However, from the above discussion, you have already got a clear idea about murder vs manslaughter. Now it will become easy for you to decide the crime types.

Frequently Asked Questions: Murder VS Manslaughter

We have received some questions regarding murder versus manslaughter. So, in this section, you will find the answers to most of them and hope so afterward the confusion will be cleared.

What is the difference between murders and manslaughter?

The killing that is performed with an intention or felony is known as murder. In contrast, unintentional killing or sudden killing is known as manslaughter. So, the absolute difference between the crimes is in the intention.

What are the different types of murder?

There are three types of murder; 1st degree, 2nd degree, and 3rd degree. Other than 1st degree, the rest two (2nd and 3rd degree murder) does not require any planning to conduct the crime. And that is why the severer punishment is for the 1st degree murder, which is life imprisonment.

What are the different types of manslaughter?

There are two types of manslaughter; voluntary and involuntary. Both are performed without any planning and due to anger and violating any rules.

How long can you go to jail for manslaughter?

After going through your case and according to the seriousness of the crime, the judge will decide your jail's lifespan. Therefore, the maximum can be life imprisonment. And then it can be either 1, 3, 6, 11, or 25 years according to the province.

How long can you go to jail for murder?

If your case falls under first-degree murder, you will have life imprisonment. But it will be somewhat less in the second-degree murder, like 40 years imprisonment. And in third-degree murder, the punishment is at least 25 years imprisonment.