Murder / Manslaughter

Murder / Manslaughter

If you act in a way that causes the death of another person, you may be charged with murder or manslaughter. Which you will be charged with depends on the presence of an intention to kill.

These are very serious offences, and we encourage you to seek legal advice from one of our expert solicitors as soon as possible.


If you intentionally act to kill someone or cause them serious harm, resulting in death, you may be charged with murder.

For the charge of murder, South Australia imposes a penalty of life in prison, with a minimum non-parole period of 20 years.


If you unintentionally act in a way that results in someone’s death, you may be charged with manslaughter. In South Australia, the charge of manslaughter can fall under 2 categories:

  1. Voluntary manslaughter is where a person intentionally caused the death of another person (murder), but the charge has been lessened due to a claim of self-defence.
  2. Involuntary manslaughter if a person has caused the death of another but did not intend to, and was not acting in a way considered to be reckless.

For the charge of manslaughter, the maximum penalty is life in prison.

There may be defences available to you and we would suggest you contact our office to discuss your position at the earliest opportunity.