What are the Key Differences Between Murder and Manslaughter in North Carolina?

By KevinMarcilliat, In Murder, 0 Comments

At the Marcilliat & Mills PLLC, our skilled Raleigh murder defense lawyers know when our clients are charged with taking another person’s life in North Carolina, their criminal case literally becomes a fight for their own.

Depending on the charges, and the individual’s criminal history, our clients are facing life-changing prison sentences — or in some cases, lifetime prison sentences.

Our Wake County criminal defense attorneys have over 80 combined years of experience producing real results for clients who are being charged with some of the most serious crimes our state has on record.

We understand you have one chance to get this right. Let us help put our legal experience, skills, and resources to work for you.

What are the Different Types of Murder Charges in North Carolina?

The state of North Carolina defines murder as the intentional killing of a human being.

The charge requires the act to be unlawfully committed:

  • With intent to harm or kill the person.
  • With reckless disregard for the person’s life.

There are multiple types of murder charges in North Carolina, including:

  • First-Degree Murder

First-degree murder is a premeditated killing, which means that it involved planning, and was done deliberately or was the result of felony murder. First-degree murder is a Class A felony punishable by life in prison with no parole or death by lethal injection.

  • Second-Degree Murder

Second-degree murder does not involve premeditation but requires a reckless disregard for another person’s life. Second-degree murder is a Class B1 felony with a prison sentence of 192 months to life in prison or a Class B2 felony with a minimum sentence of 125 months in prison.

  • Felony Murder

Felony murder is first-degree murder where a person is killed during the commission of a felony crime, which may include arson, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, rape, and other sex crimes. Felony murder is a Class A felony punishable by life in prison with no parole or death by lethal injection.

What are the Different Types of Manslaughter Charges in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, the key difference between murder and manslaughter is that the latter is not committed with malicious intent.

There are multiple types of manslaughter charges in North Carolina, including:

  • Voluntary Manslaughter

Voluntary manslaughter is the killing of a person with intent in circumstances where a reasonable person would become emotionally or mentally disturbed. This may include taking someone’s life in the heat of passion or an imperfect self-defense scenario. Voluntary manslaughter is a Class D felony with a minimum sentence of 51 months in prison.

  • Involuntary Manslaughter

Involuntary Manslaughter is an unintentional murder committed without intent and not in the heat of passion, which may include circumstances where the accused was criminally negligent, engaged in reckless conduct, or while committing a non-felony crime when the loss of life occurred. Involuntary manslaughter is a Class F felony with a 13-month minimum prison sentence.

  • Vehicular Manslaughter

Vehicular manslaughter is the loss of life with a vehicle through negligent or reckless actions, which may include driving while impaired. Vehicular manslaughter is a Class F felony with a 13-month minimum prison sentence.

As with most crimes in North Carolina, if there were aggravating factors that led to the loss of someone’s life, the penalties will increase significantly. Conversely, if there were mitigating factors, the severity of the penalties may decrease.

To understand exactly what your murder or manslaughter charges mean to your future, contact our skilled criminal defense attorneys in Raleigh at the Marcilliat & Mills PLLC today by calling (919) 838-6643 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to learn how we help you fight these life-changing charges and pursue the best outcome for your unique legal circumstances.