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July 27, 2021

What’s the Difference Between Murder and Manslaughter?

You may not have thought you were doing anything wrong, or you were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. But now, someone is dead, and you’re being charged with a crime.

Murder and manslaughter charges are rarely simple. Most times, the line between manslaughter and murder doesn’t seem clear. But your court date is approaching and you need to know what to expect. 

Fortunately, the Raleigh defense lawyers at The Chetson Firm can help you determine whether you’re facing manslaughter charges or murder charges, and they can work to get those charges reduced or dismissed.

Manslaughter and Malice Aforethought

Manslaughter differs from murder in that manslaughter isn’t done out of malice. Generally, manslaughter charges indicate you weren’t thinking about killing someone, you had not planned the murder, or you were reasonably provoked into the crime.

For example, you may have been accused of driving drunk. In this case, you may have been driving dangerously and struck someone, killing them. You likely wouldn’t have intended or planned the situation, but you may have been driving recklessly. Because of this, you may be charged with manslaughter, rather than murder.

But the line isn’t always clear. Because of this, you may have been charged with a more serious crime, especially if motive is in question.

How to Distinguish Between Murder and Manslaughter

The line between manslaughter and murder may not be clear and easy to determine. For example, let’s say someone provoked you into violence, and now you’re facing charges for their murder. The details of that interaction can determine the charges you’re facing.

For example, let’s say you were provoked into a fight that killed the other person. If the fight was provoked and you were goaded into attacking, without any intent to kill them, you may be charged with manslaughter. But in your case, the prosecutor may claim you weren’t goaded or that your actions weren’t warranted in that situation. In these cases, you could be charged with murder.

The details of your case will help your lawyer define the charges you’re facing and fight for reduced or dismissed charges. Talk over the details with your lawyer before your court date.

Face Your Charges with a Criminal Defense Lawyer in North Carolina

When you’re facing criminal charges for the death of another person, it’s easy to get confused by the legal terms being thrown around. But that confusion can be costly. If you’re not prepared for your lawsuit, there’s a chance you could be convicted and face the penalties for a murder conviction.

Your lawyer from The Chetson Firm is here to help. We understand the difference between these charges, so you don’t have to worry about unraveling the differences. All you need to worry about is gathering evidence with your lawyer’s help and getting the representation you need in the courtroom. 

Ready to work with a murder lawyer? Reach out for a consultation by calling 919-352-9411 or by completing the following online contact form. 



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