What Are The Differences Between Murder, Homicide And Manslaughter Charges?
Georgia law defines murder, homicide, and manslaughter charges in OCGA starting at 16-5–1. Murder is defined as unlawfully and with malice (either expressed or implied) causing the death of another human being. If convicted, a person could face the death penalty, life in prison without the possibility of parole, or life in prison with the possibility of parole. A convicted individual would be required to serve at least 30 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole.
According to OCGA, a person commits felony murder when during the commission of a felony they cause the death of another being, irrespective of malice. For example, if someone was involved in a bank robbery when their partner shot and killed someone, they could be charged with felony murder. Although the accused person in this example did not kill anyone, their partner did, and since they were both involved in the bank robbery, they would both be charged with felony murder.
According to the OCGA, a person commits second-degree murder if during the commission of cruelty to a child in the second degree they cause the death of that child, irrespective of malice. This typically occurs when a parent abuses a child and causes their death without intending to cause their death. Second-degree murder is punishable by not less than 10 or more than 30 years in prison.
If a person causes the death of another human being when acting solely as the result of a sudden, violent, and irresistible passion resulting from serious provocation sufficient to excite passion in a reasonable person, then they may be charged with voluntary manslaughter. For example, if someone discovered that their spouse was cheating on them, and as a result, they became enraged and spontaneously killed their spouse, then they could be charged with voluntary manslaughter. Voluntary manslaughter carries a sentence of one to 20 years in prison.
If a person causes the death of another human being without any intention to do so, they could be charged with the offense of involuntary manslaughter. This crime is punishable by one to 10 years in prison. There is a misdemeanor version of involuntary manslaughter, which is defined as an act of involuntary manslaughter that occurs during the commission of a lawful act in an unlawful manner. This crime is punishable by up to one year in jail.
Is Bond Or Bail Available On Murder Charges As Well As Involuntary Manslaughter?
Bond is potentially available for murder charges in Georgia, however only a superior court judge can grant it. This means that while any newly arrested person is entitled to appear before a judge of the magistrate court to have the question of probable cause decided, the judge at that level cannot give a bond for murder charges. So, if probable cause for murder is found, a defense attorney would need to file a new motion for the bond in superior court. The charges of voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter can be given a bond by a magistrate judge.
Bond is typically given for involuntary and voluntary manslaughter charges, but is not usually given for murder charges. For example, I once handled a murder case wherein my client was given a bond only after he spent a year in jail, and we worked extensively on the case when the charges were still pending. By showing enough mitigating evidence and working hard for an entire year, we were able to show that he should be granted a bond.
For more information on Murder, Homicide & Manslaughter Charges, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (770) 637-5505 today.
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