Understanding Murder As Depicted in Canadian Criminal Law

Posted on October 31, 2023

criminal defence lawyer

Discovering that you or a loved one is facing murder charges can be understandably unsettling and shocking. After finding out the charges, the following moments are about making strategic decisions to ensure that you get the best possible outcome, starting with legal advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer. If you've been accused of murder, it's imperative that you take the time to understand what "murder" really means in your case. In these trying times, the legal guidance of one of the best criminal defence lawyers in Ontario, Robert Karrass, provides guidance and insight that is essential during this time of uncertainty.

For more insight into the reality of murder charges under Canadian criminal law when you or someone close to you is confronted with the possibility of being accused of such a serious crime, read on. 

The Two Degrees of Murder

In Ontario, there are two main categories of murders. The distinction between first and second-degree murder determines the nature of the crime for which you've been accused and the penalties.

  • First-Degree Murder: First-degree murder is the most severe form of homicide in Ontario. In cases of first-degree murder, the crime must have been premeditated and deliberate, which means that the perpetrator planned the murder in advance, demonstrating an intention to kill. There are some instances where the circumstance will automatically upgrade a charge from second-degree to first-degree murder, even if it does not fit the other requirements of premeditation. Penalties for first-degree murders are the most severe, which in Canada can be a life sentence with no option for parole for 25 years. 
  • Second-Degree Murder: While second-degree murder still involves unlawful killing, it occurs without premeditation or deliberation. Any intentional killing that doesn't meet the criteria for first-degree murder will fall into the second-degree category. Second-degree carries a less severe punishment compared to first-degree murder, which can result in a life sentence with eligibility for parole after 10 to 25 years, depending on the circumstances of the case.
  • Manslaughter & Criminal Law: If you've been charged with manslaughter, it is not technically considered murder, but it is a charge that addresses death. With manslaughter, unlike first and second-degree murder, there is no intent to kill. In cases of manslaughter, death is the result of negligence, a mistake, or even provocation. There is no premeditation. While manslaughter is not technically murder, it is still a very intimidating charge to be faced with that can carry hefty penalties that depend on the individual circumstances but can include time served in prison. Manslaughter can be divided into two categories: voluntary and involuntary, decreasing in severity. 

With years of experience in criminal law, Karrass Law, a defence lawyer with a proven track record, will help you understand where your case fits. Depending on the facts of the case and the charges you've received, Robert Karrass and the Karrass Law team will help you get the best possible results by leveraging zealous arguments. 

How to Navigate Manslaughter & Murder Charges

Discovering that you or someone you love is under investigation can be daunting. If you find yourself arrested or in police custody, don't speak until you've consulted with your criminal lawyer. You have the right to remain silent, which is essential leverage until your defence lawyer can ensure you protect your rights and interests. To ensure the best outcome, engage a reliable criminal lawyer known for results. Robert Karrass of Karrass Law is one of the best defence lawyers in Ontario, providing clients with guidance through every step of the investigation process. 

If you're facing murder charges, don't wait. 

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