In the US, what is the difference between the various murder charges (i.e. manslaughter, first degree, second degree, etc)? | Answerbag
First Degree Murder is the deliberate, planned act of Murder. One must have thought about it, (even for a short time) planned the murder and executed it. FDM are often proven not only because of planning of the murder itself, but also other factors like having a place to hide or get rid of the body, having an escape planned, ETC.
A First Degree Felony murder is a murder that takes place while committing a felony, even if the murder is accidental. This happens most often in things like Arson, Kidnapping, Rape, ETC.
Second Degree Murder appears to be any other type of murder (Other then Capital Murder) Generally speaking, an example of this would be a murder that happened very quickly without fore-thought. (IE; a verbal fight that escalates to a fist fight that escalates to murder) It�s very similar to Manslaughter, and some States do not differentiate between SDM and Manslaughter.
Manslaughter is broken in to two parts.
Voluntary Manslaughter is when a murder is committed in the �Heat of the moment.� That is, there is no fore-thought and usually no attempt to hide after the fact. The intent to kill was present at the time of the killing, but in no way planned.
Involuntary Manslaughter is when a murder is committed with no fore-thought and again, usually no attempt to hide after the fact, and the intent to murder was not present. Such as getting in to a bar fight and punching someone in the nose, there by sending bone fragments in to their brain and killing them, ETC. It is also most often used as a charge in cases of Negligence. (Careless Driving, ETC)