Law and Order is debatably the most iconic crime television show. It aired for 20 seasons and 456 episodes and served as the basis for spin offs such as Law and Order: SVU. As much as I love the shows, one thing always confuses me: the terminology in court. So, this month, let us dive into the different kinds of charges that can be filed and what they mean!
To begin, let us start with first degree murder. First degree murder is arguably one of the most vile crimes one can commit. Someone convicted of first degree murder has been found to have premediatated and planned a murder. This crime involves malice and an intent to kill. It is punishable by life in prison without parole or even by death. First degree murder shows a complete indifference to an human life. In states where capital punishment is legal, it is possible for first degree murder to be elevated to capital murder. This means that the defendant can be sentenced to death if found guilty, but this does not always occur.Second Degree murder still involves intent to kill another, however, it does not involve the premeditation necessary for first degree murder. In Arkansas, this can result in a 6-30 year sentence.
Finally, let’s discuss manslaughter. While first and second degree murder involves a malicious intent to kill, manslaughter occurs when recklessness results in the death of another. Involuntary manslaughter involves an individual not intending to kill anyone but behaving in a manner that resulted in the death of another. There are two categories: unlawful act manslaughter or criminally negligent manslaughter. The former involves an individual doing something that violates the law that leads to a death. The latter is a lack of attention or poor judgement that caused a death. Voluntary manslaughter occurs when there is no plan to kill but there is a direct attack on the victim that results in death. This can occur when the attacker intends to cause harm to the victim but is not fully aware that the actions could result in fatality. This often occurs in crimes of passions.
Hopefully you enjoyed this crash course into law lingo! Thanks for listening to the Witching Hour and be sure to check us out on instagram @thewitchinghour.khdx!
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