Under Arkansas' criminal code there are six types of criminal homicide: capital murder, murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, manslaughter, negligent homicide, and physician-assisted suicide.
What's the Difference Between Murder and Manslaughter?
The key difference between murder and manslaughter is malice (or the intent or desires to cause harm to another through an unlawful act). Murder is the unlawful killing of another with malice under specific circumstances defined by each state. Conversely, manslaughter is the unlawful killing of another without malice.
Manslaughter in Arkansas
In Arkansas, there are two type of criminal homicide that involve the unlawful killing of another without malice: manslaughter and negligent homicide. This article focuses on the crime of manslaughter, also referred to as voluntary manslaughter in some other states. Voluntary manslaughter is commonly defined by states as an intentional killing where the offender didn't previously intend to kill. The following table outlines Arkansas' manslaughter law.
|Arkansas Code section 5-10-104: Manslaughter|
|Class C felony. Punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment for 3 to 10 years.|
Heat of Passion Killing
The following example of a heat of passion killing is a classic case of manslaughter in Arkansas.
Example: Bob comes home and finds his wife in bed with his best friend. In a heat of passion Bob kills the friend. If the defense can prove that Bob acted under the influence of an extreme emotional disturbance, and that finding his wife committing adultery constitutes a reasonable excuse, then Bob will likely be guilty of manslaughter (rather than the more serious crime of murder).
State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Arkansas' manslaughter law contact a local criminal defense lawyer.
Contact a qualified attorney.