A murder allegation is the most serious charge that can be brought against in a Canadian court of law. First-degree murder, second-degree murder, and manslaughter may all result in severe jail sentences up to life in prison. Due to the gravity of this offence, the need to select a qualified, competent criminal lawyer is ever more essential.
First and second-degree murder and manslaughter are classified as homicides, though they differ in their degrees of responsibility. Culpability is measured by intent. First degree murder involves a level of intention and planning, thereby resulting in death.
Second-degree murder encompasses intentional homicides which are not classified as first-degree. These cases do not fit the more specific category of first-degree murder.
Manslaughter differs from first and second-degree murder in that there is no intent to kill. There are two types of manslaughter: unlawful act manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death.
Unlawful act manslaughter refers to death occurring in the process of another illegal act. For example, the intentional armed robbery resulting in unintentional death would constitute unlawful act manslaughter. Criminal negligence causing death refers to a behavior which deviates from the standard, in that a reasonable person in a certain situation would foresee death or bodily harm as a result of this unusual behavior. This reasonable response is referred to as the foreseeability requirement.
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