Difference Between Manslaughter and Homicide

Killing is not every time associated with bad intentions. Sometimes it is done without the person knowing what he is doing, without having any bad intentions. Similarly, sometimes, it is possible that it can result from an emotional response or situation.


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Manslaughter and Homicide are such kinds of crimes which although they involve taking one’s life, the intention is not of killing them. They are often interchangeably used, but there are certain differences.

Manslaughter vs Homicide

The difference between Manslaughter and Homicide is that Manslaughter is illegal and less brutal than murder, whereas Homicide is justifiable and less brutal than Manslaughter. Both are done without having bad intentions, but Manslaughter can result in severe consequences. Homicide is the killing of one person to another that can be legal or illegal.

Manslaughter vs Homicide

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Manslaughter is a criminal homicide that is done unintentionally. It is a second-degree murder that can have up to 11 years of penalty. Manslaughter is of two types Voluntary and Involuntary.

Voluntary manslaughter is done in the heat of passion or when one is provoked by other. Involuntary manslaughter happens due to some wrong actions of the accused.

Homicide is the simple killing of one person by another without any such intention of killing them. It can be illegal and legal both. They are often excusable and justifiable.

For example, a person can kill another person for saving anyone or saving themselves. Then that will not suffer any penalties. But it is needed to prove that there was no intention of killing and just for saving.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonManslaughterHomicide
DefinitionIt is defined as second-degree murder and less severe than murder.It is defined as the killing of one person by another person.
LawIt is an unlawful killing of another person.It can be legal and illegal.
IntentionIt involves no such intention of killing people, and the intent is irrelevant as a result of an intense emotional response.It involves no intention of killing the person, and it is done if it just has to.
OutcomeIt is like criminal homicide and can have severe consequences but less than murder.Unless they are not criminal homicides, they are justifiable and excusable.
ExamplesExamples such as a doctor giving medicine to a patient, which results in the death of the patient without being intended by the doctor.Examples such as soldiers in a battle killing people, which is not a crime and has no intentions.

What is Manslaughter?

Manslaughter is the killing of another person, which is illegal, but it is done without any intentions to do so. It can be an emotional response or in the heat of the moment. It is also known as second-degree murder and criminal homicide. It means that it is less brutal than murder and brutal than homicide. 

In this, a person can have very serious consequences, but if you prove your point, it will be less than murder. There are two types of Manslaughter – one is Voluntary, and another is Involuntary.

Voluntary manslaughter means when someone kills another person, but it is done when provoked by the other one or just in the heat of passion. One can get a penalty of up to 11 years in prison.

Involuntary manslaughter means the death is unintentional, and it is done as a result of one’s action. The penalties of this type can be up to 4 years of prison.

Suppose a person can be charged for manslaughter when there will be a shortage of evidence. A murder can be turned into manslaughter to reduce the penalties. 


What is Homicide?

Homicide is simply defined as when one person kills another person. It can be legal or illegal. There are different types of homicide, such as first-degree homicide, second-degree homicide, and justifiable homicide.

First-degree homicides are murders that are done with malicious thought, and the person wants to kill another person. It is very brutal, and the accused can get a life imprisonment sentence for this crime. It is an illegal and unjustified killing. 

Second-degree murder is Manslaughter which is a criminal homicide and less brutal than murder. It is not done with malicious intention and can have less severe consequences. It is usually done when the accused is provoked and in the heat of passion or the accused did some wrong actions.

Justifiable homicides are not much brutal as because the reason for killing someone is justified and right. If someone killed another person with the intention of self-defense, then it is justifiable and excusable.


Main Differences Between Manslaughter and Homicide

  1. Manslaughter is an unlawful act of killing, whereas Homicide can be legal or illegal.
  2. Manslaughter can result in severe consequences, but less than murder, whereas Homicide, is often justifiable and excusable.
  3. Manslaughter is second-degree murder and less brutal than murder, whereas Homicide is not brutal as Manslaughter.
  4. Manslaughter is done in the heat of the situation or upon provocation, whereas Homicide is killing anyone in self-defense.
  5. An example of Manslaughter is reckless driving, whereas an example of homicide is when the police kill a suspect.
Difference Between Manslaughter and Homicide
  1. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/emlj50&section=22
  2. https://www.bmj.com/content/321/7270/1212.short
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