Louisiana Criminal Defense Lawyer

Manslaughter and Murder

In the state of Louisiana, there are three types of homicide:

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  1. First degree murder
  2. Second degree murder
  3. Manslaughter

First degree murder is essentially the same as second degree murder, only it is applied to situations with aggravated circumstances.

Essentially, what is thought of as premeditated murder is second degree murder in the state of Louisiana. This is when the offender intentionally kills or inflects great bodily harm to another.

Manslaughter is when murder is committed under mitigating circumstances. For example, manslaughter might be when someone is attacked, the attacker walks away from the fight, but the victim kills the attacker as they are leaving. It can also include a husband who comes home to find his wife is cheating on him, and in the heat of moment, he kills his wife and the other man.

Generally speaking, manslaughter is not self-defense or justified killing, but is an attack based on an event which might have provided sufficient enough provocation to deprive the offender of their self-control.

Louisiana Manslaughter and Murder Laws and Penalties


Provocation does not reduce a homicide to manslaughter if it can be proven that the offender did not commit the act in the heat of the moment. Manslaughter is also homicide, without any intent to cause bodily harm or death. If you commit manslaughter and are convicted, you will face a maximum of 40 years in prison with hard labor.

If the victim was under the age of 10, then you will not be allowed the benefit of a suspension of your sentence or of probation, and the sentence will be between 10 and 40 years in prison with hard labor.

First Degree Murder

Louisiana State laws states that first degree murder is when a human being is killed, and the offender has the intent to kill them, or to inflict a large amount of bodily harm to the victim.

It also means that the harm and death was caused while the offender was engaged in:

  • aggravated kidnapping
  • aggravated escape
  • aggravated arson
  • second degree kidnapping
  • aggravated rape
  • forcible rape
  • armed robbery
  • aggravated robbery
  • assault by a drive-by shooting
  • simple robbery
  • first degree robbery
  • second degree robbery
  • cruelty to juveniles
  • second degree cruelty to minors
  • terrorism

First degree murder also includes situations where the offender:

  • Specifically meant to inflict great bodily harm or death to a police officer, fireman, civilian employee from the state police crime laboratory, or anyone engaged in a forensic laboratory
  • Intentionally killed or inflicted great bodily harm upon more than one person
  • Was offered, given, or received anything of value for killing or inflicting great bodily harm to another
  • Intentionally killing or inflicting great bodily harm to someone who is between twelve and sixty five years of age.
  • Intentionally killing or inflicting great bodily harm to someone who was a witness to a crime for the purpose of preventing or influencing their testimony
  • Intentionally killing or inflicting great bodily harm to a person with the purpose of exacting retribution after a testimony

Get Help with a Manslaughter or Murder Charge

With the help of a criminal defense attorney, you can hope to receive a reduced sentence for manslaughter rather than first degree murder or second degree murder.