The effects of a death are profound felt among both the accused and the victim, especially if the accused did not intend to cause harm.
Canadian Law recognizes different types of homicides as murder and manslaughter and what punishments are associated with each.
What are the differences between the different charges?
A death caused without intention fall under the manslaughter classification. Within this, manslaughter charges can fall under one of two categories: Criminal negligence or an unlawful act.
A criminal negligence charge will be used when a reckless act or failure to act resulted in the death of another person. The court would find it negligent if a sound person would not have expected their act could put lives in danger. For example: excessive speeding that causes a death of a passenger or pedestrian. Maximum sentence is life in jail.
An unlawful act is used when the crime committed results in the unintentionally death of another person. For example, a person gets into a fight and punches another person and they die of their injuries after the fact.
First-degree / Second-degree murder:
The main difference between first-degree and second-degree murder charges come down to the planning and deliberation of the act with the intent to kill.
A first-degree murder charge is used when the killing was planned. Conversely, some homicides are considered first-degree murder whether they are unintentional or planned. Those include the death of a police officer on duty, hijacking causing death, sexual assault causing death.
A murder that happens in the heat of the moment but was not planned falls under second- degree murder. In some cases, if another crime is committed that causes death, like a robbery that leads to an unintentional homicide, the accused will be charged with second-degree murder.
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