Manslaughter can be voluntary or involuntary. It differs from murder as it lacks the intent to kill. Either way, someone is unlawfully killed.
What Is Voluntary Manslaughter?
Voluntary manslaughter is the unlawful killing of another person, though it lacks the element of intent. It is considered an action brought on by extreme emotional anguish or a sudden act of passion, leading to a lack of self-control. The killing is brought on by the failure to be able to control one’s actions.
What Are Some Examples of Voluntary Manslaughter?
Manslaughter can take various forms. Here is a list of ten examples of voluntary manslaughter:
- A person who kills their partner or spouse in the heat of passion upon finding out that the partner has been unfaithful
- When someone kills a person in self-defense but uses excess force than what was necessary to protect themself, it is considered voluntary manslaughter.
- A parent could be guilty of voluntary manslaughter if they killed someone they believed was threatening their child, though there was no imminent or immediate threat.
- When a person fails to practice reasonable control after being taunted or provoked and kills a person, voluntary manslaughter has occurred.
- Someone who causes an intentional fatal injury during a physical altercation is guilty of voluntary manslaughter.
- Voluntary manslaughter can be charged if a person is being robbed or burglarized and kill the person when the robber could have been stopped without that sort of force.
- Assisted suicide can also be considered voluntary manslaughter, even if the deceased consented to this type of death.
- Another example of voluntary manslaughter is when someone has a burst of sudden rage. The event would not have been premeditated.
- While attempting to discipline or teach someone a lesson, resulting in their death, is a prime example of voluntary manslaughter.
- When a property owner uses excessive force to protect their property, culminating in someone’s death, it is another example of voluntary manslaughter.
How Do Voluntary Manslaughter and Murder Differ?
The main distinction between voluntary manslaughter and murder is the presence of intent to kill. Murder involves premeditation and deliberate planning of intentionally taking someone’s life. Murder consists in planning with the intent to kill, while with manslaughter, there is no premeditation or objective to kill.
What Are the Legal Penalties Associated with Voluntary Manslaughter?
The penalties for voluntary manslaughter committed in California depend on several factors. These depend on the events surrounding the violation, the defendant’s prior convictions, and if there were aggravating factors. Typically, voluntary manslaughter is considered a felony offense carrying the following penalties:
- A state prison sentence of up to 11 years
- Monetary fines of up to $10,000
There are some exceptions to the penalties outlined above. For instance, when a killing happens in the heat of passion or under intense emotional anguish, the sentence may be reduced to a term of between three and six years.
It is critical to remember that penalties for voluntary manslaughter are complicated and can vary based on the circumstances of the case. Suppose you or someone you care for is facing voluntary manslaughter charges. In that case, experts urge you to consult with a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles to understand your legal rights and options clearly.
Are There Other Consequences of a Voluntary Manslaughter Conviction?
While the criminal penalties are steep, there are other penalties that a person convicted of voluntary manslaughter could also face. Some of these consequences are listed below:
- Loss of civil rights such as the right to own a firearm or the right to vote for a period of time
- Difficulty securing housing since many landlords run background checks on potential tenants
- Lost wages during court and jail time. Few employers will hold a job for someone while they are imprisoned
- Denial of loans and credit applications
- Lost educational opportunities such as enrollment, acceptance, and student loan issues.
- Difficulty with custody and visitation issues
- Professional licenses and certifications can be revoked or suspended if convicted, making employment even more difficult
- Personal relationships may suffer
Can a Voluntary Manslaughter Violation Be Reduced to a Lesser Charge?
A voluntary manslaughter charge can be reduced to a less serious offense, like reckless homicide or involuntary manslaughter. Whether this is possible will depend on the circumstances of the case and negotiations with the prosecutor. This is another reason you want to ensure that you have proactive legal counsel to advocate for you in these matters.
What Can a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Do for Me if I Am Charged with Voluntary Manslaughter?
When combatting a voluntary manslaughter charge, you should consult with a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles for help navigating all of the legal complexities of your case. Their provision of legal guidance throughout the case will be invaluable.
Here are some ways that a criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you:
- They will make sure you understand the charges and potential consequences that you face if you are convicted of voluntary manslaughter.
- A criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles will use all of the resources at their disposal to thoroughly investigate your case. They are prepared to interview witnesses, examine evidence and hire experts to testify in your defense.
- Development of a robust legal defense strategy. Your attorney will devise a strong defense that protects your best interest by challenging the evidence against you, presenting alibis, and arguing that you acted in self-defense or with an intention of defending others.
- Your legal team is equipped to negotiate plea deals for you to see that the charges are reduced so that you face less harsh penalties.
- Your criminal defense lawyer will represent you in court throughout the hearings, trials, and sentencing.
When facing a serious criminal charge like one for voluntary manslaughter, you should hire an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer to represent you. Our team has the skills, knowledge, and experience to tenaciously fight for the freedom and rights of our clients.