Types of homicides: murder crimes and their consequences according to the penal code

Among the crimes that violate the right to life of the human being, the types of homicides are among those that deserve more severe punishments. In fact, the types of murders constitute crimes that are sanctioned with increased or aggravated penalties.

Commonly the types of homicides are the main indicator of the rate of insecurity in a country. Thus, it is important to take into account the trend in homicide statistics and the types of murders in the legal system, with the purpose of preventing them in order to outlaw any form of violence against life.

General classification of homicides

What is homicide and its types? In accordance with the global criminal regulations that apply in various countries around the world, homicides, classified as crimes against persons, can be classified into various types, as explained below.

intentional homicide

It refers to the deliberate death perpetrated against an individual, called the passive subject of the crime; while whoever had the will to cause said death knowing the harm he was committing against the victim, is defined as an active subject of the crime. This crime is verified by the intentional character with which it is executed.

Culpable homicide

It is the crime committed against the life of the victim, without the intention of the offender intervening, who by an involuntary act causes the death of the passive subject of the crime. This crime occurs as a result of the negligence or recklessness of the aggressor, who did not seek to end the life of the victim. 

preintentional homicide

It is about the crime that initially threatens the physical integrity of the victim and that despite the fact that there is no will of the aggressor to cause the death of the victim, finally ends up causing it. In this case, the murderer sought to harm the health of the victim, without the intention of causing his death intervening.

simple homicide

In this crime, the death of an individual is caused by action (deceit) or omission (fault), without the existence of any circumstances that have justified the occurrence of the crime and without the murderer having planned or conceived in detail how to commit the crime. with treachery, premeditation or insidiousness. The jurisprudence has defined this crime as a simple intentional homicide.

A typical example of simple homicide is when a person uses a firearm against another, causing instant death. In this case, the crime of simple intentional homicide is configured. The previous example allows us to distinguish simple and qualified homicide.

qualified homicide

What is qualified homicide? It is the death given to another person with treachery or treason, premeditation and insidiousness, which makes this criminal act even more reprehensible. It should be noted that murder is a subtype of homicide and one of the most emblematic examples of qualified homicide. It is considered an aggravated homicide.

There is treachery when the murderer acts on insurance or treason, which means that he is certain that the victim has no chance of reacting to the aggression he receives from the perpetrator. There is premeditation when the offender has been able to reflect and deliberate all the steps prior to the occurrence of the crime.

When in doubt about what is qualified homicide, it can be said that a homicide is qualified when it is determined by circumstances that aggravate the sentence of the murderer, who has previously been able to ponder on the crime to be committed; given the close relationship that existed between the victim and the perpetrator.

If doubts persist about what is qualified homicide, it is worth illustrating this crime. For example, when a man kills his wife, a qualified homicide called uxoricide occurs; while if it is the son who kills his father or mother, the crime is qualified as parricide. 

Differences between manslaughter and murder

On numerous occasions the crime of homicide is confused with the crime of murder; For this reason, it is convenient to clarify that the latter is a type of qualified homicide and although it is true that both are crimes against people, it is no less true that they are different notions.

In short, there are always elements or circumstances that make the difference between homicide and murder. Even in all cases, death by homicide occurs. Following are the particularities that differentiate them.

the cruelty

It refers to the cruelty revealed by the murderer in the way of perpetrating the crime, unnecessarily increasing the suffering of the victim. This circumstance is an aggravating factor for criminal responsibility, which means an increase in the penalty imposed on the person guilty of the crime, since there are aggravating factors for the crime of homicide.

In every murder there is cruelty and for this reason criminal responsibility is greater, since it reveals the inhuman behavior of the offender. On the other hand, not all homicides exhibit the circumstance of cruelty. 

For there to be cruelty in Criminal Law, two requirements must be met: that redundant suffering be caused to the victim and that the murderer acted consciously and with reflection at the time of committing or executing the crime.


It consists of the action of perpetrating a crime that threatens the life of the individual proceeding in a safe or treasonous manner, that is, without giving the victim the slightest chance to defend himself. It is a circumstance that increases criminal responsibility. In fact, treacherous behaviors are aggravating factors in homicide.

In every murder there is treachery and therefore, criminal responsibility is greater, in proportion to the deliberate conduct of the offender. On the other hand, not all homicides exhibit the circumstance of treachery. 

The essential requirement for the treacherous conduct to take place is that the victim be defenseless, this being the guarantee of consummation of the criminal act. Therefore, it is prudent to distinguish treachery in murder and manslaughter.


It is the previous action of projecting or conceiving all the necessary steps for the execution of the crime that threatens the life of the individual. They are attitudes of the offender, such as the previous study of the routines of the victim, to ensure the main way of perpetrating the crime. It is an aggravating circumstance of criminal responsibility.

In all murder there is premeditation and for this reason, this crime is punished with a greater penalty than the conviction for the crime of homicide. On the other hand, not all homicides externalize the circumstance of premeditation. 

The reward or the price

It refers to the circumstance in which an advantage or material advantage is offered to the person who commits the crime consisting of ending the life of the victim. It is a fact that notably aggravates the criminal responsibility of the offender and that turns homicide into murder.

In every murder there is a reward or price for the instigator of the crime and for this reason, said crime is punished with a much higher sentence than the sentence for a simple homicide.

What does homicide for reward or prize mean? Personifies death caused by economic interest. However, it must be said that not all homicide exhibits the aggravating factor of reward, promise or price. However, all murder requires the pre-existence of obtaining financial gain or a material or personal advantage that encourages the murderer to commit the crime.

Classification of homicides in the Spanish Penal Code

In accordance with articles 138 to 143 of Organic Law 10/1995, of November 23 of the Spanish Penal Code, whose last reform was published on 07/02/2021, there are mainly two forms or typologies of homicide crimes and their time, each one reveals the characteristics of the homicide that are explained below.

The types of homicide in the penal code of the Iberian country are specified below.


It is a crime that is defined as the action of causing the death of an individual, being perpetrated with the deliberate will to end his life. This crime is committed with intent, that is, with the unequivocal intention of killing the victim.

Thus, the essential subjective requirement for the crime of intentional homicide to be verified is the “animus necandi” which means intention to kill knowingly and willingly, that is, intentionally.

Intentional homicide includes the subtypes of basic intentional homicide and aggravated intentional homicide; being that the basic carries penalties less than aggravated homicide, all in accordance with the circumstances provided for in article 140 of the Spanish Penal Code.

reckless homicide

It is a crime that causes the death of the victim, without the murderer having the will to cause his death, which occurs due to the recklessness of the perpetrator of the crime. So, the negligent attitude of the homicide when violating the obligation of care that was required of him, is what has been decisive in the occurrence of the homicide.

In this order of ideas, article 142 of the Spanish Penal Code stipulates two subtypes of this crime: homicide due to serious negligence and homicide due to less serious imprudence. It is even useful to identify the various forms of the crime of homicide. Recklessness can sometimes be considered as a cause of attenuated homicide.

The crime of manslaughter due to gross negligence occurs when the perpetrator of the crime uses a motor vehicle or moped, a firearm or any instrument of his professional practice. In the latter case, acts carried out negligently in health care or as a result of medical malpractice are included.

It should be noted that, in the event of homicide due to gross negligence or homicide by omission, the penalty will be increased when the number of deaths is high and given the seriousness of the punishable act, in which case, it will be classified as a hyper-aggravated subtype.

The subtype for less serious imprudence has also been typified, which is committed in circumstances of lesser risk than the crime of homicide due to serious imprudence and for this reason, carries minimum sentences compared to the rest of the subtypes.

However, despite the fact that the Spanish Penal Code does not expressly regulate preterintentional homicide, the jurisprudence of the Iberian country has made mention of this typology. In this sense, Spanish judges have interpreted it as a form of homicide that inevitably does not involve fraud (intentionality) or guilt (negligence).

Regarding the classification of homicides, it can be deduced that, in preterintentional homicide, the perpetrator of the crime initially intended to cause slight damage to the victim, but inevitably ends up causing her death, this not being what he intended. So, the concept of homicide is widespread.

Classification of homicides in the Mexican Penal Code

In accordance with the latest DOF reform dated 06/01/2021 of the Federal Penal Code of the Aztec country, homicides are classified based on the form and legal elements that make them up. The types of homicide are listed below according to the penal code of Mexico.


It is the crime consisting of depriving another of his life, with the unquestionable intention of causing his death. Article 312 of the Federal Criminal Code stipulates that the person responsible for an intentional homicide will be sentenced from four to twelve years in prison. All this as consequences of intentional or intentional homicide.

Similarly, article 320 of the Federal Penal Code, stipulates the penalty of thirty to sixty years in prison for the guilty of qualified intentional homicide, committed with premeditation, treachery, advantage or treason. The same penalty shall be imposed on the person who, with the purpose of killing another, has committed rape or robbery against the victim.

The same penalty will be imposed when the homicide is carried out intentionally at home or room, having entered it furtively; with deceit or violence, or without permission of the person authorized to give it.

Culpable homicide

It refers to the crime of depriving the life of another without intention. In this case, the death of the victim is verified by imprudence, incompetence, negligence and non-observance of regulatory norms, which attenuates the criminal responsibility of the murderer. The reduction of the sentence will not be applicable in case of manslaughter or murder.

Article 321 of the Federal Penal Code provides that no action shall be taken against anyone who negligently causes homicide to the detriment of an ascendant or descendant in a straight line, brother, spouse, partner, adopter or adoptee, unless the perpetrator is under the influence of intoxicating beverages. , narcotics or psychotropics, without a medical prescription, or that does not help the victim.


What is murder? It is the crime known as qualified intentional homicide. The Federal Penal Code stipulates it as a circumstance that aggravates the criminal responsibility of the murderer and for this reason imposes on the person responsible for this crime, a penalty of thirty to sixty years in prison, in accordance with article 320.

It is necessary to mention that the murder requires that the active subject of the crime act with advantage, treachery or treason. So this meaning refers to the definition of qualified homicide.

The advantage will only be considered as qualifying the crime of murder, when the offender does not run any risk of being killed or injured by the offended party and the offender is not acting in legitimate defense. This last assumption is the one that elucidates the controversy about what a murder is.

Treachery is a qualified crime and consists of intentionally surprising someone unexpectedly, or using stalking or other means that do not allow them to defend themselves or avoid the harm that they want to do.

It is said that he acts treasonously, the one who not only uses treachery, but also perfidy, violating the faith or security that he had expressly promised to his victim, or the tacit one that the latter had to promise from him because of his relations of kinship, gratitude, friendship or any other that inspires confidence.

It is inferred that not all homicide exhibits the aggravating circumstance of the reward, promise or price. Many times it is necessary to determine the causes of the homicide. However, all murder requires the pre-existence of obtaining financial gain or a material or personal advantage that encourages the murderer to commit the crime.

After analyzing the types of homicides, it is important to determine the scope of the operation of the prison system in each country, as well as to examine the risk factors that cause these crimes. This will make it possible to reduce the rate of the types of murders, in order to reduce insecurity as well as violence.

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