Although it’s not as common as first- and second-degree murder, you could be charged with third-degree murder in some circumstances in Louisiana. Many states typically use manslaughter for the same type of crime as third-degree murder; manslaughter is the act of causing the death of another person while in the commission of a dangerous act.
In order to be charged with third-degree murder, someone must have died because of your actions even if you didn’t kill them. One detail that sets this charge apart is that the person must know that their actions could cause someone else to be injured or could cause someone else to die if they are carried out.
Different than manslaughter
If you’re charged with manslaughter, then it’s usually a lesser charge than third-degree murder. The prosecution would need to demonstrate that the person charged with third-degree murder committed an act while in a depraved state of mind or with malice. The primary difference from manslaughter is that the defendant knows at the time the act is committed that it could cause the death of someone else and continued to perform those actions. Manslaughter is typically charged due to reckless behavior that causes another person’s death.
One of the defenses that could be used is that you didn’t commit the crime as the prosecution would need to prove that you were the one who performed the actions that led to the death of the victim. Self-defense is also commonly used as well as acting in a manner to defend other people.
While third-degree murder isn’t quite as common as other charges that involve killing another person, it is possible to be charged with this crime if your actions result in someone dying in an unintentional manner.