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Legal Differences Between Murder & Manslaughter

Distinguishing Murder from Manslaughter

In South Carolina, both murder and manslaughter are homicides that occur when one person unlawfully causes the death of another.  Distinguishing between these crimes can be difficult.  It is nevertheless important to do so because the penalties for each of these crimes can vary greatly.  If you are facing homicide charges of any kind, you need a highly qualified lawyer.  Jack B. Swerling is a criminal defense lawyer with the background and experience to help you.

South Carolina Murder Laws

What differentiates murder from manslaughter is the state of mind of the accused at the time the crime was committed.  South Carolina homicide law defines murder as a killing with malice aforethought.  This can mean one of two things.  Either the accused intended to kill the victim, having made a conscious decision to do so, or the accused acted with a reckless indifference for human life.

A good example of reckless indifference would be a person who fires a gun into a car or home that he or she knows to be occupied.  That person is not trying to kill a specific individual but is acting in a way that has a high probability of causing death or serious injury.  If a bullet enters the house and kills one of the occupants, the person firing the gun would be guilty of murder.  Murder is the most serious crimes a person can commit.  If you are under investigation or facing charges of murder, do not wait to contact a South Carolina homicide lawyer.  Your freedom could be at stake.

South Carolina Manslaughter Laws

A person who kills another in the heat of passion without time for meaningful reflection and upon sufficient legal provocation may be found guilty of manslaughter rather than murder.  The penalty for manslaughter is less than the penalty for murder, between two and 30 years in prison, depending on the circumstances.

If you are under investigation for manslaughter, do not wait to contact a South Carolina homicide law firm.  You need a skilled and experienced homicide lawyer available to protect your rights.

Contact South Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyer Jack B. Swerling Today

If you are facing homicide charges or learn you are the subject of a homicide investigation, call our law firm 24 hours a day at 800-701-0599.  Our answering service can direct you to Jack Swerling, Attorney at Law.  You may also contact Jack Swerling online.

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Jack Swerling In The News >>

  • Jack Swerling, Derrick Mobley and Alissa Wilson were successful in having a Judge rule after an extensive hearing, that the defendant was immune from prosecution based on the “Stand Your Ground” law in a murder prosecution. The Judgment was handed down on March 29, 2021.
  • Jack Swerling, Gregory Harris and Alissa Wilson obtained a Not Guilty Verdict in Lexington County on March 3, 2022. An Orthopedic Surgeon was charged with Involuntary Manslaughter in the accidental shooting death of a friend.
  • “When Jack is on my docket, I tell my law clerks, ‘You do not want to miss this. You are seeing one of the greatest trial lawyers in the state’s history.'” -South Carolina Circuit Court Judge
  • Jack was selected to Super Lawyers Magazine Top Ten List for 2019. Each year Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in South Carolina via a selection process involving peer evaluations, independent research and professional achievement. The South Carolina lawyers who receive the highest points during this selection process are further recognized in the South Carolina Super Lawyers Top Ten List.
  • USA v. FRANK*: In a child pornography case, Swerling was successful in obtaining a 22 level variance reducing the defendant’s sentence from 8 years to 6 months.
  • STATE v. BORIS: The defendant was found not guilty by reason of insanity in a case where the defendant was involved in a shoot-out with 3 police officers.
  • STATE v. TYGER: Jack Swerling obtains a not guilty verdict in a criminal sexual conduct case in Beaufort County.
  • Pre Trial Dispositions: STATE v. DWAYNE: Mr. Swerling successfully argued for the dismissal of stalking and unlawful use of telephone charges brought against a prominent businessman in Florence County.
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