The Difference Between Manslaughter and Murder

Close up photo of the word manslaughter visual concept for legal criminal defense blog

Murder and manslaughter are both crimes that involve the taking of another person’s life and are some of the most serious criminal charges a person can face. A conviction carries severe penalties that can change the course of your life and, in the most serious situations, result in a sentence of life in prison.

If you were charged with murder or manslaughter, you need a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney who is meticulously prepared and will do everything possible to help you avoid a conviction.

Elmen Legal will carefully investigate the charges against you and prepare a vigorous defense to protect your rights and fight for a Not Guilty verdict.

Murder vs. Manslaughter in Michigan

The primary difference between murder and manslaughter is whether a person intended to take someone else’s life.

What Is Murder?

In Michigan, the crime of first degree murder is a killing “perpetrated by means of poison, lying in wait, or any other willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing.” This means the killing was done intentionally and with planning before committing the act.

Second degree murder is an unplanned but intentional killing caused by a reckless disregard for human life. The crime applies to a killing that did not involve pre-planning but is defined by a sheer disregard for human life.

What Is Manslaughter?

Michigan recognizes several types of manslaughter charges.

Voluntary manslaughter occurs when a person unintentionally kills another person, often in an emotionally charged situation where there was intent to kill but without premeditation. The killing must have occurred without a “cooling off” period where the person who committed the alleged crime had time to recover after a stressful or traumatic event that caused provocation.

Involuntary manslaughter is the unintentional killing of another person caused by criminal negligence.

Penalties for Murder vs. Manslaughter

Michigan distinguishes between murder and manslaughter and imposes different penalties based on the severity of the alleged crime.

  • First degree murder is punishable by life in prison without the possibility of parole.
  • Second degree murder carries a punishment of any term of years in prison up to a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 15 years.
  • Manslaughter (whether voluntary or involuntary) is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Aggressive Defense to Serious Criminal Charges

Murder and manslaughter are among the most serious criminal charges a person can face, and the penalties for a conviction are severe. If you have been charged with murder or manslaughter, your freedom is at stake, possibly for the rest of your life. You cannot settle for anything less than the best.

Elmen Legal understands the fear and stress that comes with being charged with such a serious crime. Michigan criminal defense attorney Robert Elmen will thoughtfully and thoroughly answer your questions and aggressively defend you against the charges. He will gather information about the circumstances of the alleged crime, meticulously investigate every piece of evidence the prosecution intends to introduce, and mount a vigorous defense designed to result in a Not Guilty verdict, a significant reduction in the charges, or that will force the prosecution to dismiss the case.

Attorney Elmen firmly believes that every defendant is presumed innocent and will work to build a compelling defense. He will be with you every step of the way, and will fight to preserve your freedom.

Elmen Legal: Aggressive Legal Representation for the Most Serious Criminal Charges

To learn more, contact Elmen Legal today to schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how Robert Elmen can help.