Murder, Manslaughter and Criminal Negligence Causing Death Charges

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People often use the terms murder and manslaughter interchangeably. You may often find people claiming a wrongful death due to criminal negligence as murder. However, in terms of law, these terms are different in terms of crime and punishment.

Proving the level of murder is pretty difficult with all these complex legal elements. Similarly, if somebody is accused of murder, determining the severity or extent of the act is a crucial step in the legal process.

Here in this write-up, we will discuss the differences between these categories.

Difference Between Murder, Manslaughter, and Criminal Negligence

All of them are related to killing a person. The main distinction of different killings basically depends on the intention and planning. 

However, if you look closer, you’ll discover more opposing perspectives. Each level of murder has been discussed separately here, along with its definition, supporting documentation, and minimum sentence.

Let’s start.

Different Degrees of Murder

First Degree Murder

First-degree murders are planned murders. It falls under the following categories:

  • Pre-planned murder involving someone else or any organization to assist.
  • Killing a busy cop
  • Killing someone during another crime like hijacking, kidnapping, molesting, or stalking. 
  • Killing a cop or a reporter who is covering the case.

How to Prove the First-Degree Murder?

The prosecution must show that an individual intended to kill a person to be found guilty of first-degree murder. Also, you must persuade the audience that the suspect’s actions played a vital role in the murder.

What are the punishments and parole requirements for first-degree murders?

If they commit any crime, they risk going behind bars again. On the other hand, a criminal with several first-degree murder charges will have to serve a consecutive jail term for each of the murders. Also, they will be ineligible for seeking parole.

A first-degree murderer will be put behind bars, and it is inevitable. The culprit will be capable of a parole term after 20+ years. If someone remains on parole, the court will continuously observe him.

If they do something wrong, they will get arrested again. If a criminal is found guilty of many first-degree murders, they will all be sentenced to consecutive terms in prison. And they won’t be able to apply for parole.

Second Degree Murder

Second-degree murder is knowns as a homicide. Murder and homicide are frequently used identically. But when it’s about legislation, they vary. 

Homicide refers to the illegal but unintended killing of a person. In contrast, murder is killing with comprehensive planning.

Homicide and murder are both horrific crimes with severe consequences. But not every murder is punished with the death penalty. So this is second-degree murder.

How to prove a second-degree murder?

The prosecution in second-degree murder must provide evidence that is stronger than a possible suspicion. The prosecution will demonstrate how the crime was conducted, how it resulted in a murder, and how the suspect had murderous intent.

What are the punishments and parole requirements for second-degree murders?

The suspect must pass compulsory imprisonment and cannot request parole before 10 years. The court, crown, and defense decide the capability to request parole.

Still, there are some differences in getting parole. If the culprit has committed second-degree murder several times, he will be imprisoned for 25 years without parole.

But there will be exceptions if the murder happens in terms of “heat of passion.” Like, the manslaughter penalty will not be that much severe as second-degree murder. A mentally challenged murderer will get less penalty.

Third Degree Murder

Third-degree murder is also called manslaughter. Any unlawful killing without the motive to establish murder is considered manslaughter. The main aspect of manslaughter legislation is a criminal act that results in the victim’s death. Using force against an individual without that person’s permission (violence) and killing him is illegal.

Manslaughter is another viable defense when a defendant faces a murder accusation but is intoxicated and can’t demonstrate the motive to kill or harm, resulting in death.

There are two types of manslaughtering:

Voluntary Manslaughter

Voluntary manslaughter is often called a “heat of passion” crime. It happens when someone:

  • Gets strongly provoked
  • Kills the other person because of the provocation

Because of the heat of passion, the person doesn’t get sufficient time to calm down. Killing in the heat of passion is intentional, but the psychological context influences the factor. 

An ideal example of the heat of passion murder is when a person comes home and finds his wife involved in adultery and kills one of them immediately. In this type of case, the court might consider it a voluntary killing.

Involuntary Manslaughter

Involuntary manslaughter often happens to reckless behavior, which is considered criminal negligence. It is generally unintentional killing being careless. An accidental killing through recklessness can be referred to as a second-degree killing.

How to Prove Third-Degree Murder?

Third-degree murder prosecution is more challenging than other types of prosecution. The rationale is that the Crown and criminal defense lawyers must provide evidence to support their allegations.

Most significantly, it might be difficult to determine the offender’s motivations. Numerous cases were tried as murders but were ultimately ruled to manslaughter.

What are the Punishments and Parole Requirements for Third-Degree murders?

The culprit has to be in jail for minimum 4 years. But if any firearm is involved in the murder, the punishment won’t be the minimum.

Final Words

Though murder, manslaughter, and criminal negligence caused death, they all ended up killing a person. The motive or intention of these killings differs. While first-degree murder is intentional, second-degree murder and third-degree murder, i.e., manslaughter and death due to criminal negligence, are unintentional.


What is the sentence for criminal negligence causing death in Canada?

The penalty for criminal negligence death in Canada is imprisonment for life.

How many years do you get for manslaughter in Canada?

The maximum penalty for manslaughter is a life sentence. But, most cases are under the statement of 4 to 15 years.

What is the difference between negligence and criminal negligence?

Civil negligence refers to a person's failure to behave with care. Criminal negligence usually requires a careless act so outrageous that there is a danger of death or significant physical damage.