When another person causes someone's death, you may immediately think that the situation involves murder. However, when a fatality results from the actions or negligence of another person, this may not be the correct term that applies to the situation.
There are different legal options depending on the exact crime and charges. Of course, there is no replacement for having a legal professional on your side during this time.
Typically, when an incident results in someone's death, authorities may deem it a homicide. However, homicide does not immediately mean murder. In fact, the term homicide is used to describe any event in which a killing occurs. Additionally, not all actions that lead to a death fall into the category of an illegal crime, such as in cases of self-defense. Different types of homicide include the following:
- Manslaughter: This term typically comes into use when a death occurs, but it does not fall into the category of murder. If a person did not intend to kill another person, authorities may deem it involuntary manslaughter, and if a person died as the result of someone's actions that he or she did not think through, it may be considered voluntary manslaughter.
- Murder: Murder comes in varying degrees, and the exact charge depends on the details of the incident. For instance, if a person planned to purposefully kill another individual, that act would fall into the category of first degree murder, which is the most serious.
- Justified homicide: A justified homicide is one that occurs typically as an act of self-defense or act of defending someone else.
Of course, even in cases of self-defense, you may still need to present evidence to the court that your actions fell into that category.
Defending against charges
In order to address your situation as best as possible, you would benefit from exploring your criminal defense options. Additionally, this type of situation is not one that you should go at alone, and enlisting the help of an attorney to understand specific Alabama laws relating to homicide may work in your best interests.