In legal terms, manslaughter is a homicide without malice aforethought. Simply put, it is the killing of another but without the intent required in a charge of murder. In most cases where a killing occurred, the prosecution will charge murder. Manslaughter then becomes a possible lesser charge that is included in the greater murder charge. It is often a charge sought by the defense attorney in plea negotiations or jury trial. Manslaughter is classified as either voluntary or involuntary.

Voluntary Manslaughter

Voluntary manslaughter is more commonly known as “heat of passion” homicide. The most common example used to explain this crime is a husband walking in on his wife with another man and the husband in that moment of anger and surprise commits a murder. California also recognizes a murder that stems from a sudden quarrel as voluntary manslaughter.

To reduce a murder charge to manslaughter the following elements need to exist:

  1. Provocation
  2. The provocation was enough to cause the murder to lose all judgment and act rash,
  3. A reasonable person would have reacted similarly if in the same situation

Our attorneys are experienced former prosecutors and are equipped to handle criminal charges from petty theft to murder. They work hard to obtain the best possible result in your case.

Involuntary Manslaughter

To reach a lesser involuntary manslaughter charge, the law again considerers a person’s state of mind and intent. Involuntary manslaughter is reached when the evidence shows that the person accused of a killing acted:

  1. Without malice
  2. Without intent to kill, and
  3. Without conscious regard to human life

While often confused, this crime is not necessarily a murder that occurs by accident. The crime of involuntary manslaughter presumes the accused acted with a high risk to human life. Separate vehicular manslaughter laws deal with a killing with the use of a car.

Having an attorney who is familiar with the nuances of murder and manslaughter charges is crucial to receiving an adequate defense. Whether an accused person is convicted of murder or manslaughter makes a very big difference in sentencing. The attorneys of Bonilla & Cintean, LLP. know and understand a good defense comes from the details surrounding each individual case and will build your defense case according to your individual situation.