Skip to content

You may have heard the words “homicide” and “murder” used interchangeably, or at least assumed they could be. However, they each have marks of distinctiveness under federal and New Jersey state law. Follow along to find out the differences between homicide and murder and how one of the proficient Bergen County criminal defense attorneys at McNerney & McAuliffe can help you avoid penalties in either case.

Is homicide the same thing as murder under New Jersey law?

On the one hand, murder is defined as the unlawful killing of another person with malice aforethought. On the other hand, homicide may be used as a broader, umbrella term for all acts of killing another person. This is to say that while all murders may be considered homicide, not all homicides may be considered murder. More specific distinctions between the two are explained below:

  • An act of homicide:
    • Is not always considered a crime.
    • Requires the killing of another person.
    • Does not require malice aforethought.
    • Does not require an intent to kill another person.
    • Does not come in different degrees.
    • Has a feasible legal defense (i.e., self-defense).
  • An act of murder:
    • Is always considered a crime.
    • Requires the killing of another person.
    • Requires malice aforethought.
    • Requires an intent to kill another person (except for felony murder).
    • Comes in different degrees (i.e., first-degree, second-degree, felony).
    • Does not have a feasible legal defense.

What are the different penalties for homicide and murder?

To reiterate, homicide does not come in different degrees and therefore does not have different degrees of punishment. This means that the New Jersey criminal court may likely place charges for murder or manslaughter. Namely, manslaughter is defined as the unlawful killing of another person without malice aforethought. Without further ado, the different penalties for varying degrees of murder and manslaughter read as follows:

  • First-degree murder:
    • Thirty years to life imprisonment, possibly without possibility of parole.
    • A fine of up to $200,000.
  • Second-degree murder:
    • Fifteen years to life imprisonment.
    • A fine of up to $150,000.
  • Felony murder:
    • Thirty years to life imprisonment, possibly without possibility of parole.
    • A fine of up to $200,000.
  • Aggravated manslaughter:
    • Ten to 30 years imprisonment.
    • A fine of up to $200,000.
  • Voluntary manslaughter:
    • Ten to 20 years imprisonment.
    • A fine of up to $150,000.
  • Involuntary manslaughter:
    • Five to 10 years imprisonment.
    • A fine of up to $150,000.

Regardless of whether you get the word “homicide,” “murder,” or “manslaughter” thrown your way, you must take it seriously. As you have likely already realized by this point, any of these accusations may come with irrevocable consequences. In a way, the best thing you can do to help yourself is to allow one of the talented Bergen County criminal defense attorneys to help you. With that said, feel free to reach out to us at McNerney & McAuliffe whenever you are ready.

Read Our Latest Blog Posts

  How Is Mediation Different from a Collaborative Divorce?

There may be no hard feelings between you and your spouse in the wake of deciding to part ways. In…

Read More
  Is Homicide the Same Thing as Murder?

You may have heard the words "homicide" and "murder" used interchangeably, or at least assumed they could be. However, they…

Read More