Voluntary & Involuntary Manslaughter

Manslaughter charges occur when someone has been killed allegedly by the hands of another person. The one caveat preventing you as a suspect from being charged with murder is the lack of any prior intention to kill that person. Manslaughter is also a typical means of arguing down a murder arrest to a lesser charge. How direct your involvement is in the death of another is what differentiates voluntary from involuntary manslaughter.

How is voluntary manslaughter different?

Voluntary manslaughter means that you are believed to be the one who physically committed the homicide. What keeps this from being a murder charge is while you took another person’s life, it was not your prior intention to do so. Voluntary manslaughter has to do with homicide that is done in the heat of the moment—something was said or done to you (usually by the deceased) to cause you to go into a frenzy and lose control of your emotions in a rage, thus killing the other party.

Keeping this charge from a murder charge is the very short amount of time elapsing between having something said or done to you to cause you to become overwhelmed by your emptions to the point of violence. In this way, there was an intent to injure and even to kill but the intent was sparked by another person.

What is involuntary manslaughter?

Involuntary manslaughter is a slightly lesser charge. In this case, you had no wish throughout to injure or kill another person. Rather, you acted in such a negligent and reckless way that another person died as a result. Your gross negligence lead directly to a person’s death, though you never intended to do so. This charge is common in DUI manslaughter cases.

While less serious than a capital or murder charge, manslaughter can result in very harsh punishments. A conviction for voluntary manslaughter can result in up to 12 years in jail, even with no prior criminal history. Involuntary manslaughter can cost you 5 years of your life without a criminal past. A strong legal defense is needed to have your charges reduced and in some cases dropped.

Our Boston criminal defense attorney can put together a sound strategy to avoid a conviction. Call our office or visit our website to learn how we can defend you.