When a manslaughter takes place, one of the most important issues is this: Were the defendant’s actions considered reasonable when the death occurred? For instance, what happens if you were physically attacked and feared for your life at the time of the accident? If you were unable to defend yourself, then you may be successful at defending against this charge. However, if the attacker was much smaller than you and clearly didn’t have a weapon when they made their threats, you wouldn’t have any rise to kill them unreasonably.
In a Voluntary Manslaughter Case
There are two types of manslaughter: voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter is when you unlawfully and intentionally kill another human being during “heat of passion” after somebody has provoked you. There is a stereotypical scenario you may have heard: coming home to find your spouse in bed with another person, and you kill them both in a fit of emotional rage. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes it can be brought on by a threatening neighbor who is constantly telling you that they’ll kill you, or any other party. If the prosecution can show that you took time to contemplate the scenario, then you will likely be charged with murder instead.
In a Involuntary Manslaughter Case
Then, of course, there is also involuntary manslaughter. This crime occurs when the defendant kills the victim by accident, but should still be punished. This is usually referred to as “criminal negligence.” The defendant may not have intended to kill, but it happened and so they will be charged to the extent of the law. This is why, in drunk driving accidents, you sometimes find involuntary manslaughter charges.
Sometimes, if you have been charged under circumstances that could be associated with murder, you can have your crime reduced to a manslaughter charge. If you have been charged with voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, you may have a case. Call us today at the Law Office of Peter Blair for more information on how we can help.