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Manslaughter

Criminal Defense Attorney Alan BaumCriminal Defense Attorney Eric Chase

SuperLawyers

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The unlawful killing of another person without premeditation or so-called "malice aforethought" (an evil intent prior to the killing).

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Manslaughter Defense Considerations

Manslaughter is distinguished from murder (which brings greater penalties) by lack of any prior intention to kill anyone or create a deadly situation.

There are two levels of manslaughter: voluntary and involuntary.

Voluntary manslaughter includes killing in the heat of passion or while committing a felony.

Involuntary manslaughter occurs when a death is caused by a violation of a non-felony, such as reckless driving (called "vehicular manslaughter").

Examples of voluntary manslaughter might include:

Eddy Hothead gets into a drunken argument in a saloon with his acquaintance Bob Bonehead, and Hothead hits Bonehead over the head with a beer bottle, causing internal bleeding and death.

Brent Burgle sneaks into a warehouse intent on theft and is surprised by a security man, whom Burgle knocks down a flight of stairs, killing him.

Both are voluntary manslaughter. However, if either man had used a gun, a murder charge is most likely since he brought a deadly weapon to use in the crime.

The immediate rage in finding a loved one in bed with another followed by a killing before the passion cools usually limits the charge to voluntary manslaughter and not murder, but prior attacks could convince a District Attorney and a jury that the killing was not totally spontaneous.

An example of involuntary manslaughter might be:

Lenny Leadfoot drives 70 miles per hour on a twisting mountain road, goes off a cliff and his passenger is killed in the crash. Leadfoot can be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

If you are facing potential manslaughter charges, it is critical that you use a legal defense team with specific experience and expertise dealing with these types of charges. Call us at any time at (800) 209-4331 for a free, confidential initial consultation. Early intervention is critical to obtaining the best results.

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