What is the crime of homicide?

The crime of homicide consists of the act of killing another person. It is a crime against human life in which the protected legal right is independent human life. However, death or suicide itself is not punishable.

The typical action is configured by the verb “to kill”, that is, to deprive another person of life. Death has to be a consequence of the author’s way of acting. Any person can be the active subject of the crime of homicide. Types of Murders

What types of homicide are known in criminal science?

In the world of Criminal Law, different types of homicide are distinguished: intentional, reckless, and preterintentional.

intentional homicide

Homicide can be intentional when it is committed through intentional action. Fraud supposes the knowledge and the will to kill another. The jurisprudence understands that it is enough that the author knew that he carried out an action that caused a legally disapproved danger that affected the human life of another.

In other words: the main element in intentional homicide is the intent to kill. This requirement differentiates the crime of homicide from the crime of injury since the perpetrator of a crime of injury does not intend to cause the death of another.

reckless homicide

If the action that gives rise to death is reckless, we will be facing a reckless homicide. This occurs when the author violates the objective and subjective duty of care that was required of him. Reckless homicide can be due to serious or less serious negligence.

The crime of manslaughter by gross negligence can be committed using a motor vehicle or moped, a firearm, or by professional negligence (for example,  medical negligence ). All these crimes carry additional penalties: deprivation of the right to drive motor vehicles and mopeds, deprivation of the right to carry or possess weapons, and special disqualification from the exercise of a profession, trade, or position, respectively.

On the other hand, homicide due to less serious negligence will be committed in the same situations as a homicide due to serious negligence when the judge considers that the negligence lacks sufficient entity to be considered serious.

preintentional homicide

Preterintentional homicide is used when the perpetrator’s guilt cannot be classified in any of the cases of intent or negligence.

For example, a prefer intentional homicide occurs when someone wants to injure another and causes their death. The author’s intent was to injure, not kill. In order for the active subject to be criminally responsible for the homicide, it will be necessary to establish an objective imputation of the result.

Can attempted murder be punished?

Homicide can also be committed in the degree of finished and unfinished attempts.  However, this criminal figure has been the subject of controversy, since in practice it can be difficult to differentiate between an attempted homicide and consummated injuries. The distinction is in the intention of the author (to kill or injure).

For this, the jurisprudence is based on the following criteria:

  • The background of the fact.
  • The relationship between the active and passive subject.
  • The occasion was chosen to commit the crime.
  • The weapon means, or the instrument used.
  • The wound, lesion, or area of ​​the body that has been attacked.
  • If there is a repetition of blows or insistence on the attack.
  • The state of the victim when the assault ends.

Is homicide the same as murder?

Both homicide and murder are crimes against human life that occur when one person kills another. However, they are two different crimes, since the murder entails a greater criminal intensity, as soon as it occurs with treachery, cruelty, or through a price, reward or promise.