In North Carolina, crime scene investigators review the circumstances of all fatalities. It is these circumstances that set unfortunate accidents apart from murder. Once a crime is identified, the state must determine if the defendant has committed murder or manslaughter. The following is a discussion defining murder and manslaughter offenses.
What is the Primary Difference Between These Charges?
The primary differences between murder and manslaughter are intent and how the victim died. Murder is defined as the willful intent to kill another human being. Premeditation also plays a factor in differentiating the difference between these cases. On the other hand, manslaughter is defined as an act in which the defendant chose an action that led to the victim’s death. While it wasn’t their intention to kill the victim, the death could have been avoided if they made a different choice.
What Events Lead to Involuntary Manslaughter?
Accidental shootings and DUI are common events that lead to involuntary manslaughter. In DUI cases, the state must assess the blood-alcohol content reading. This reading defines whether or not the driver could have made a rational decision and avoid the accident that caused the fatality. In accidental shooting cases, a primary factor that is considered is the age of the defendant and their ability to understand what happened.
When is the Offense Capital Murder?
The offense is classified as capital murder under specific circumstances. If the defendant killed a law enforcement officer or a fireman, the defendant is charged with capital murder. A murder that occurred during an additional felony offense falls under this category as well. Contract killings or murders that occur while a defendant is in prison are also considered capital murder as well.
What Other Classifications Increase the Penalties?
Any murder that was also considered a hate crime can lead to further penalties. Additionally, any act of malice can also increase the penalties and extend the defendant’s prison sentence. In some cases, the defendant will face two felonies.
In North Carolina, crime scene investigators provide officers with evidence to arrest a defendant for murder or manslaughter. Once evidence is secured, the defendant is formally charged and arrested. The circumstances behind these crimes define the exact charge. Defendants who are facing these charges visit www.powersmccartan.com for more info.