Close this search box.
Close this search box.

What Are the Different Degrees of Murders?

Homicide charges in Canada can be classified as either murder, manslaughter, or criminal negligence causing death. The accused’s intention in committing the offence frequently dictates how these charges are filed and classified. 

According to Section 229 of the Criminal Code, murder is defined as the killing of a person with the intent to kill or cause bodily harm that will likely result in death. The degree of murder can be categorized as first or second. 

First-degree murder is defined as a death that was “planned and deliberate,” which requires forethought and the intent to kill. In the instance of second-degree murder, the legal requirements are not the same.

Whether a person is found guilty of first- or second-degree murder, the punishment is life in prison; however, the period required to be eligible for parole differs. First-degree murder carries a 25-year minimum sentence, whereas second-degree murder carries a 10-year minimum.

What Is the Difference Between the Degrees of Murders?

The crime of murder is defined as when a person intentionally causes the death of another person or causes bodily harm that is likely to result in death. This means that even if someone did not intend to cause death but did so with the aim of causing physical injuries that led to death, it can still be considered a murder. Charges against you for homicide will depend on what the prosecution believes was your intended motive. These accusations fall under the categories of manslaughter, second-degree murder, and first-degree murder.

What is First Degree Murder?

The most serious murder charge you may be charged with is first-degree murder. Everyone found guilty of first-degree murder is given a life sentence without the option of parole for a minimum of 25 years. A first-degree murder conviction always results in the same punishment, regardless of the case’s specifics. 

If the crown prosecutor thinks that the homicide was premeditated and intentional, you could be prosecuted with first-degree murder. Any crime that results in the death of a police officer while they are on duty will also result in a first-degree murder charge. 

After 25 years, those found guilty of first-degree murder are eligible for parole. The seriousness of the offence, the parole board, and in some circumstances the victim impact statements all play a part in determining whether or not someone is freed.

What is Second Degree Murder?

Second-degree murder refers to any intentional homicide that was not premeditated. The intent in this case is that the accused wanted to cause bodily harm and kill the victim or intended to cause bodily harm and knew it would likely result in death and was reckless as to whether death ensues or not. It does not, however, qualify as first-degree murder because it was not premeditated. 

Depending on the judge’s judgement and decision in the case, all defendants found guilty of second degree murder will also be sentenced to life in prison with a minimum period before being eligible for parole of ten years. The National Parole Board decides whether a person is eligible for parole and if they are accepted, depending on a number of factors. 

Second degree murder charges entail the intentional taking of life, but they do not require the same level of preparation and forethought as first degree murder charges. For instance, a second-degree murder could happen during a heated disagreement. Additionally, convictions for second-degree murder carry obligatory life sentences with a 10-year minimum parole eligibility. However, in rare circumstances, a minimum sentence of 25 years may be necessary to qualify for parole.

Manslaughter or criminal negligence can be used to other situations where there has been a fatality but there was no intention to kill. The punishments imposed in connection with these offences range widely. Changes to Canada’s criminal code, however, might mandate minimum terms for specific offences. For instance, the minimum punishment for a firearm-related death is four years. 

An allegation of a crime that results in a death is significant. Having competent legal representation in Toronto courts is crucial for those who have been or may be accused of causing another person’s death. We can assist you in all areas, including bail and police interviews as well as all phases of a trial. There is no time to waste if you or someone you care about is suspected of committing a crime. To guarantee that your rights are upheld and that your case has the greatest outcome possible, get in touch with us straight away.

What is Manslaughter?

Murder charges can be lowered to manslaughter if the individual who killed the other person did so after being provoked suddenly and in the heat of the moment. A wrongdoing or an insult that is sufficient to rob a regular person of self-control is referred to as provocation. As a result, manslaughter is a form of homicide in which the accused did not aim to kill. 

If the prosecution cannot establish an intent to kill, a murder charge may be reduced in favour of manslaughter. For instance, someone might pass away in a bar brawl. Due to the fact that the person did not intend to murder the person, this frequently leads to a manslaughter prosecution.  A manslaughter suspect may also claim that they acted in self-defense. 

It is not necessary to establish the foreseeability of death in order to establish manslaughter; rather, the Crown must show that there was a objective foreseeability of the risk of bodily harm, which was neither trivial nor transitory, in the context of a dangerous act. In other words, the fatality must result from an assault rather than from a premeditated intention to kill.

Except in cases where the accused employed a firearm in the commission of the crime, there is no minimum sentence for manslaughter and no minimum time to serve before becoming eligible for parole. 

In cases involving a firearm, a 4 year minimum sentence is required by law. From a client’s perspective, there is therefore a big difference between manslaughter and murder convictions in terms of outcomes.

Murder Lawyer Toronto

You need a criminal defence attorney to protect your rights and fight for your freedom if you have been charged with Murder or any other serious offence. If you are being prosecuted, the Crown will attempt to present evidence that proves your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to the court. Your defence attorney’s job is to create reasonable doubt.

Alex Karapancev’s career has been dedicated to the practice of criminal law. He is skilled at evaluating the evidence in your case and deciding on the best strategy to use in court. He knows how to find the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and knows how to draw attention to them. He also understands how to draw attention to evidence that establishes your innocence. Whether you live in Toronto, Brampton, Newmarket, or elsewhere in Ontario, Karapancev Law – Criminal Lawyer Toronto can assist you with your case.

Picture of Alexander Karapancev

Alexander Karapancev

Alexander Karapancev is a Toronto criminal lawyer practicing throughout the province of Ontario. He regularly serves as lead trial counsel on serious and complex criminal cases. He is the founder of Karapancev Law, a law firm representing clients facing criminal charges, regulatory offences, and professional discipline proceedings.

Mr. Karapancev has acted as counsel in hundreds of cases throughout the province of Ontario, regularly representing clients at trials, applications, bail hearings and preliminary inquiries. He is regularly retained to defend individuals charged with serious allegations of fraud, drug trafficking, DUI offences, domestic assault, and sexual assault. Prior to founding his law firm, Mr. Karapancev practiced criminal defence at a boutique Toronto law firm and also served as a per diem Crown prosecutor.

Top Rated Toronto Criminal Defence Lawyers

Results matter. A reputation built on winning. Karapancev Law Is Ready to Fight for You!