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Voluntary vs Involuntary Manslaughter

Voluntary vs Involuntary Manslaughter

The Right California Lawyers for Voluntary and Involuntary Manslaughter

There is an important difference between voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. The term involuntary manslaughter is used to refer to the unintentional killing of a person. It might result from criminal negligence, recklessness, or misdemeanor.

The person who commits involuntary manslaughter does not want the victim to die. For example, a person who drives under the influence of alcohol may hit and kill a pedestrian, although killing him was not his intention.

Elements that constitute the offense

A person can be charged with involuntary manslaughter if the following three criteria are met.

  • The defendant committed an act that resulted in the death of a person.
  • The defendant knew that his conduct might endanger lives.
  • The act was inherently dangerous or was done with a total lack of concern for human life.

Voluntary Manslaughter: Definition

The term voluntary manslaughter is used to refer to intentional killing. However, in involuntary killing, the person who commits the crime has no prior intention to kill. The murder happens in the ‘heat of passion’. The situations which lead to the crime are of the kind which would cause a person of rational judgment to become mentally or emotionally disturbed. In the absence of such causes, the killing could be regarded as first or second degree murder. Among the various kinds of homicides, this crime falls between murder, which is a crime committed with malice aforethought, and the excusable and justified taking of life committed in self-defense. The latter doesn’t constitute a crime.

Voluntary manslaughter is different than involuntary manslaughter and its definition depends upon the state in which the crime occurs. On the other hand, involuntary manslaughter occurs when a person dies due to the recklessness or irresponsibility of the defendant.

Heat of Passion: definition

According to Federal law, voluntary manslaughter is the illegal killing of a person without malicious intent. It happens in the ‘heat of passion’. This term is used to refer to an uncontrollable emotion that any reasonable person may experience under similar circumstances. In the case of first degree murder, the idea of malicious intent or premeditation is present, but it is absent in the case of voluntary manslaughter. The presence of one negates the other.

Voluntary manslaughter is sometimes also defined as an act of killing that is committed with the wrong notion that the killing is justified. For example, a person who kills another in self-defense may be charged with voluntary manslaughter if he was the original attacker in the situation.

Dealing with manslaughter charges in California

If you have been charged with manslaughter in California, the experienced criminal lawyers at Takakjian & Sitkoff, LLP can evaluate your case and options. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 888-579-4844.