Have you ever been watching a news story about a murder but not understood what they were talking about? There are a lot of terms that are only slightly different from one another, and if you want to understand the nuances of current events, it can be useful to know those terms. Here are a few commonly used phrases that will help you to understand more about the legal system.

What is Premeditation?

When a courtroom gathers, one of the key distinctions they’re trying to determine about a crime is if the defendant planned the murder or if it was accidental or committed in the heat of passion. If a crime is premeditated, it is often judged more harshly because the person had plenty of time to understand the consequences of their actions. Accidents are often filed as either manslaughter or wrongful death.

What is Manslaughter?

Manslaughter is still a crime, but it is considered to be less severe than murder. A common example of manslaughter is a car accident that is the result of a driving under the influence (DUI) charge in which someone dies as a result of the accident. In a manslaughter case, the person had no intention of harming someone, but they committed an act of criminal negligence that resulted in the death of another human.

What is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is, criminally speaking, defined as an incident in which the person intended to commit a crime but didn’t intend to kill someone. For instance, if a manufacturing company was knowingly negligent about maintaining their equipment, and an employee was killed as a result of the malfunctioning equipment, then the company could be sued for wrongful death. Additionally, there’s a distinction between wrongful death and manslaughter: Wrongful death is a suit that the victim’s family files. Manslaughter is a suit that is filed by the state on behalf of the people.

There are many terms that are used in court proceedings, and the legal system is complex. That is why it’s easy to get certain terms confused. If you want to understand the laws that govern one of the most serious crimes we have, continue to build on your knowledge day by day.

You can do this by staying connected to the news, and you can also do library research if you want to more fully understand what is happening in your state and throughout the rest of the world.