Imagine not having the choice when it came to killing another person. You knew it was wrong, but there was nothing you could do to prevent it. Now you face a homicide charge. Homicides cover a range of killings, both intentional and unintentional. Many kinds of homicides break criminal laws, which means that the people who committed them may be charged and prosecuted.
First-degree murder is the first kind of homicide and the most serious. First-degree murders are intentional and premeditated. Both short- and long-term plans count as premeditation.
Another kind of homicide is manslaughter. Manslaughter is an illegal killing that is not as severe as murder. For example, involuntary manslaughter could occur if a drunk driver hits and kills a person. The person driving drunk was being criminally reckless, but there was no intention to kill another person.
Interestingly, some kinds of homicides are legal. These include justified homicides, like if you kill someone while trying to defend yourself or someone close to you. Here's an example. If a person breaks into your home and begins to strangle your spouse, you could attack that person to help save your spouse's life. If the attacker is killed, you could argue that you were defending your loved one and had no other option.
Regardless of the type of homicide you're accused of, it's important to talk to your attorney about your options. While you may initially be charged as a criminal, there are cases when you should not be charged and actually may be a victim of your circumstances.
Source: FindLaw, "Homicide Definition," accessed Aug. 29, 2017