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Though you may assume all homicide charges are viewed the same in the eyes of the law, this is far from the truth. As such, understanding how manslaughter and murder differ in Georgia is critical to protecting yourself if you are facing charges. The following blog explores how these two charges, which both involve taking the life of another, vary in severity. Additionally, you will discover how a Cobb County violent crimes lawyer can help you navigate the criminal justice system.

What Warrants a Murder Charge in Georgia?

In Georiga, murder is the most severe homicide charge someone can face. Additionally, there are no degrees of murder in Georgia, unlike other states. As such, ensuring you understand what constitutes this charge is critical. Generally, when you take the life of another person, you can face a murder charge under the following circumstances:

  • You intended to kill the individual
  • You killed another person, even unintentionally, while committing another felony crime
  • You acted with willful disregard for human life

If you are charged with murder in Georgia, you will face intense penalties if convicted. These consequences include life in prison, life in prison without the possibility of parole, and the potential for the death penalty.

How Does the State Define Manslaughter?

When you are charged with manslaughter in Georgia, you will be charged with involuntary or voluntary manslaughter.

Generally, voluntary manslaughter is charged to those who take the life of another person in the “heat of the moment.” This is most often used to describe instances in which one spouse finds the other committing adultery and kills their spouse or the affair partner. Because this discovery would cause the average person to become overwhelmed with rage, it is considered voluntary manslaughter.

Involuntary manslaughter occurs when someone’s reckless behavior unintentionally kills another person. For example, if you are speeding, you may have no intention of killing another person, but your reckless decision to disobey the speed limit can cause another person to lose their life.

In Georgia, those charged with voluntary manslaughter can face one to twenty years in prison. However, involuntary manslaughter, when charged as a felony, can warrant one to ten years behind bars. In the event it is charged as a misdemeanor crime, you can face up to one year in jail. Whether your involuntary charge warrants a felony or misdemeanor will depend on the circumstances surrounding your case.

If I’m Facing Charges, What Should I Do?

If you are charged in connection with a homicide, it’s imperative to understand what your rights are during these matters. Upon your arrest, you should immediately inform the officer you want legal representation and then invoke your right to remain silent. Anything you say can be held against you in court, and in the stress of the moment, you may accidentally say something incriminating. As such, do not talk to the police until you have spoken to the team at the Miller Law Practice.

When you need help, the Miller Law Practice, LLC, is ready to assist. We know facing any kind of homicide charge can be overwhelming. As such, we will work with you to explore your circumstances and determine the best course of action for your case. If you or a loved one are in legal trouble, contact us today.