Georgia Murder Laws

What is Murder in Georgia?

When someone takes the life of another, regardless of intent or other details surrounding the incident, it is called a homicide. In Georgia, murder is the most severe type of homicide because it is planned and was done on purpose with some type evil intent. For example, a wife plans to kill her husband for months by poisoning his food or a gang member plans to assistance a rival by shooting into his house.

Felony Murder

In a "felony murder" situation, a death occurs during the commission of an "inherently dangerous felony." Basically if you decide to rob a liquor store and accidentally kill the store clerk, then you will be guilty of felony murder. It doesn't matter that you didn't intend to shoot the clerk. The mere fact that you were committing a felony and killed someone can make you guilty of felony murder.

Degrees of Murder

Georgia does not classify murder as first-degree ("cold-blooded" killings) and second- degree (reckless disregard for human life). In Georgia, any killing with malice or a killing without provocation is murder. The severity of the punishment will depend on the seriousness of the surrounding circumstances.Other types of homicides include voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.

Murder and felony murder cases are usually considered among the most heinous crimes and as such, the most severe punishments are reserved for them including life in prison or the death penalty.

Difference Between Murder and Manslaughter

Murder involves what is called "malice aforethought" which means that the act of killing was intentional. On the other hand, manslaughter is the unlawful killing of another person without direct intention or attempt. Essentially manslaughter could be considered an accident while murder is not.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Georgia involuntary manslaughter laws. See also Voluntary Manslaughter, Involuntary Manslaughter, First Degree Murder Defenses, and First Degree Murder Penalties and Sentencing.

Code Sections Murder and Felony Murder: O.C.G.A. 16-5-1

"Criminal homicide"

What is Prohibited?

Murder: A planned or intentional homicide of another person or a homicide while committing a felony.

Felony Murder Rule A person commits felony murder (murder) if any death (even an accidental one) results from the commission of certain violent felonies -- such as arson, burglary, kidnapping, rape, and robbery.
Penalty Capital punishment or life imprisonment. See O.C.G.A. 17-10-30, et seq.
Civil Case

Possible wrongful death lawsuit

Degrees of Murder

None. Georgia classifies homicides into the following categories: murder, felony murder, voluntary, and involuntary manslaughter.

Note: State laws are constantly changing - please contact a Georgia criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching. 

Get a Free Evaluation of Your Murder Charges

Murder is one of the most serious charges under Georgia law. Taking another human being's life can result in serious consequences such as capital punishment if convicted. Don't take your chances. Get the best possible legal advice and a free case review from a criminal defense lawyer in Georgia.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.