In incidents that lead to someone’s death, there can often be a fine line between manslaughter and murder; however, there is a big difference in punishment. In the state of Mississippi, courts will look at every aspect of the case to determine the difference between murder and manslaughter.
In simple terms, the difference between murder and manslaughter in Mississippi is that manslaughter is unintentional, while murder is intentional. Specifically, the term used to define murder is “malice aforethought,” or the intent to kill. Generally speaking, if an intent to kill cannot be proven, then the courts will opt for a manslaughter charge.
Depending on the circumstances, there can be multiple levels of each crime.
What are the Different Types of Manslaughter?
There are two different types of manslaughter:
What is the Difference?
Voluntary manslaughter occurs when someone causes the death of another person because of provocation or an overly aggressive act of self-defense. For example, if someone instigates an altercation with you, and you counterattack them with an unnecessary amount of force and/or for an unnecessary amount of time, this could be considered voluntary manslaughter. Sometimes “heat of the moment” killings can be considered voluntary manslaughter rather than murder if the accused person was in a fit of rage, passion, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Involuntary manslaughter occurs when someone kills someone by accident, but out of complete negligence and recklessness. A classic example of involuntary manslaughter is driving recklessly through a stop sign and running someone over.
What is the Punishment for Manslaughter in Mississippi?
In general, the penalties and punishments are usually harsher for voluntary manslaughter than involuntary manslaughter. However, all cases of manslaughter can result anywhere between 2 and 20 years in prison and a minimum of a $500 fine, depending on the circumstances.
What are the Murder Laws in Mississippi?
Most states in the USA divide murders into the first and second degree. However, in Mississippi, there is only “murder” and “capital murder.”
“Murder” in the Magnolia state is the next level above manslaughter and is defined as causing the death of someone under the following circumstances:
- The premeditated killing of a person or unborn child
- While committing an eminently or dangerous act or showing a depraved heart with no
regard for human life.
- While committing or attempting to commit any felony
Capital murder is the most serious form of murder and is used in especially egregious or malicious circumstances, such as killing a police officer, committing rape alongside murder, or using bombs or explosives.
Murder is punishable by life in prison, and capital murder can be punishable by either life in prison or the death penalty.
Have You Been Accused of Murder?
The difference between manslaughter and murder in Mississippi can be worth 20 years of your life, so it is important to work with an experienced attorney who can fight for your freedom.
Act now and contact Vic Carmody Jr., P.A. at Mississippi Lawyers. He is a legal warrior who serves all of Mississippi.