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Difference between voluntary manslaughter and murder

| Jul 9, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

When an individual takes the life of another person, the authorities and legal system in Georgia treat it as a homicide. As long as the intent to kill exists, the individual who committed the violent crime may get a felony charge and up to 20 years in prison. A person accused of voluntary manslaughter may need to appear in both criminal and civil court.

Voluntary manslaughter and murder fall under homicide

Violent crimes may result in voluntary manslaughter or murder charges in Georgia. A homicide still occurs no matter the intent of the person committing the violent act. The distinction between voluntary manslaughter and murder largely depends on whether the murder occurred instantaneously.

A person who acts in self-defense and overreacts may have the intent to kill at the moment the crime occurs. Since the person acted in self-defense in a volatile moment, courts hand out lesser charges for these types of crimes. Voluntary manslaughter turns into a murder the moment a defendant has enough time to think about the situation, but they still commit the crime.

Voluntary manslaughter is sometimes referred to as a heat of passion crime. Since the killing of another person resulted from a sudden altercation caused by a serious provocation, courts view it as a lesser offense than murder.

Getting help for a violent crime

Understanding the difference between voluntary manslaughter and murder can help you make the best decisions about your next steps. With so much riding on the line for defendants, getting the proper legal counsel and support can dramatically affect a case.