Manslaughter is a homicide committed without reason or justification but distinguished from murder by the absence of the element of malice aforethought. Malice is the intent, without just cause or reason, to commit a wrongful act that will result in harm to another. Today's criminal statutes typically divide manslaughter into degrees, with the most common distinction being between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.
Killing in the heat of passion provoked by actions of the victim, which cause a reasonable man to act impulsively and without reflection is voluntary manslaughter. Voluntary manslaughter results from an intentional act done without malice or premeditation and on sudden provocation.
Provocations for voluntary manslaughter can include violent assault or an unlawful attempt to arrest him. Voluntary manslaughter is not justified by simple insulting words or gestures. Most states grade manslaughter by degrees, and voluntary manslaughter is usually a first-degree offense.
Involuntary manslaughter is a killing in which there is no intention to kill at all. Involuntary manslaughter occurs as a result of committing a crime that is not a felony or an action likely to cause great bodily harm or when it is the result of a lawful action performed in a criminal manner.
Involuntary manslaughter results from the failure to act in society in a way normally required to safeguard human life. Involuntary manslaughter is also charged if committing an unlawful act not amounting to a felony, or from committing a lawful act involving a risk of injury or death that is done in a reckless, or negligent manner. Automobile accidents are responsible for many manslaughter cases that arise from reckless and careless driving, however the statutes of some states of the United States categorize it as vehicular manslaughter as opposed to involuntary manslaughter.
The specifics of involuntary manslaughter vary from state to state especially with regard to the level of negligence required. In states that grade manslaughter by degrees, involuntary manslaughter is usually graded as a second or third-degree offense.
The charge of manslaughter is a very serious and perhaps an extremely life-altering situation. You must be fully prepared to endure the stress involved with a situation of this magnitude. An experienced manslaughter attorney can help you prepare your case from the start. You must understand that you could face a lengthy prison sentence if you are misrepresented during your manslaughter case. An experienced attorney may be able to have the manslaughter charges reduced or even have the case thrown out of court altogether. This is a situation in which you can't afford to take a gamble with a public defender. Contact an experienced manslaughter attorney today to get the best results in your case.
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