Each charge has requirements that must be met.

There are several levels of homicide. Each one must meet specifications:

Note: the exact specifications vary by state.

MURDER - Killing a specific person:

  1. First Degree Murder - Premeditated: Planning in advance to kill a specific person.

      e.g. Killing to collect an inheritance

  2. Second Degree Murder - Impulse: Killing someone the killer is enraged at.

      e.g. Killing in a bar fight

  3. Third Degree Murder - Criminal: Killing people who are trying to stop a crime.

      e.g. Killing a bank guard

  4. The victim must be known by the killer, angering the killer, trying to stop a crime, or stopping flight from a crime.

MANSLAUGHTER - Killing whoever is there:

  1. First Degree Manslaughter - Reckless acts: Killing whoever gets in your way.

      e.g. Shooting a gun randomly into the dark not caring who gets hurt

  2. Second Degree Manslaughter: Careless acts: Killing by not being careful.

      e.g. Knocking someone off the roof by not being careful with a long board

  3. The victim's identity is not known or not important to the killer at the time of the killing.

ASSASSINATION - Killing a public official:

  1. The victim is a public official or candidate and is killed for political reasons.

CASUALTY OF ACT OF WAR - An act of war or terrorism caused a death:

  1. The victim died when others waged war.

SUICIDE - The victim killed himself:

  1. The victim died by his own hand.

DEFENSE OF SELF OR OTHERS (not a crime) - Killing to stop a killer:

  1. The victim was killed while trying to kill people.

DEATH BY OWN RECKLESS ACT (not a crime) - The victim died though his own reckless acts:

  1. The victim died while risking his own life.

DEATH BY OWN CARELESS ACT (not a crime) - The victim died through his own carelessness:

  1. The victim died when he was too careless.

ACCIDENTAL DEATH (not a crime) - Circumstances beyond control caused a death:

  1. The victim died when unforeseen circumstances happened.

DEATH BY NATURAL CAUSES (not a crime) - A natural process caused a death:

  1. The victim died when natural events occurred.

DEATH BY UNKNOWN CAUSES (not a crime) - The cause of death cannot be found:

  1. Nobody knows how the victim died.