Are Murder and Homicide the Same?

The terms ‘murder’ and ‘homicide’ are sometimes used interchangeably as if they mean the same thing. In the legal world, however, the meanings of ‘murder’ and ‘homicide’ are quite different. Because of this, the way that a person is sentenced if they are convicted of murder or homicide will vary.

The one thing these two terms have in common is that whether a murder or a homicide was committed, the outcome is the same. Another person loses their life. Murder and homicide are some of the most serious crimes that go to court. These criminal acts often result in the harshest penalties.

If you live in or around the greater San Diego area and you were arrested for allegedly killing another person, it is in your best interest to immediately connect with a San Diego homicide attorney. Working with an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney will improve your chances of beating your charges or having them lessened. 

Having your case thrown out, securing a not guilty verdict, or having your charges reduced as much as possible is always the goal. David Boertje is a knowledgeable and respected San Diego criminal defense lawyer who understands the system and how to fight against it.

What is the Difference Between Murder and Homicide?

Homicide is a term used that means a person was killed. Murder, by contrast, is a premeditated killing of a human being. Murder is considered much more egregious and as such, a conviction comes with more severe penalties than a homicide. The issue is the pre-meditation or the cognizant thought and active scheming of another person’s demise that makes murder so serious. A person may unknowingly or unintentionally kill another person, and their actions are considered a homicide.

For example, when murder is the charge, the basis of that charge is simple homicide. This means that the defendant did something that killed someone else. If the case shows that the defendant had intent, or planned the fatal incident, their actions will be considered murderous.

When murder is charged, it can be at either:

A conviction of any type of classification of murder will come with steep penalties.

Homicide can also be broken down into different classifications:

  • Justifiable.
  • Criminal.
  • Excusable.

A charge of homicide and even proving that the defendant was responsible for another party’s death does not automatically lead to severe punishments or any at all for that matter. If a person responded to a situation that caused another’s death but their reaction is considered excusable and/or justifiable, it is likely they will not suffer serious repercussions. 

Consider instances of self-defense. Let’s say one party kidnapped another and was trying to kill them. If the victim of the abduction fights back and kills their abuser, they did take a life. Yet, under the eyes of the law, that homicide could be considered justifiable and excusable. In this situation, the person on trial could walk free.

Speak to a California Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Murder and homicide are incredibly serious charges that need the most proactive and tactical San Diego murder defense attorney. Call David M. Boertje today to schedule a free, confidential consultation at (619) 229-1870 for the San Diego office or (760) 476-0901 for the Carlsbad location.

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