Manslaughter (Penal Code § 192)

Manslaughter is the crime of killing someone without the intent required for murder, but the killing is nonetheless not accidental. 

Manslaughter can be either Voluntary or Involuntary (Penal Code § 192(b)) depending on the defendant's state of mind.  Because of the potential complexity of the legal and factual issues involved in manslaughter cases and the high stakes for a defendant, it is extremely important to hire an experienced attorney as early as possible.

If you or someone you care about is facing a manslaughter charge or is charged with any violent crime, the criminal defense attorneys at the Weinrieb Law Firm can help explain the charges and properly defend against them.  We can be reached twenty–four hours a day, seven days a week at (818) 933–6555.

Voluntary vs. Involuntary Manslaughter

Voluntary Manslaughter (Penal Code § 192(a)):

Voluntary manslaughter is the killing of a person in the "heat of passion." This generally means the killing occurred as a result of sudden and unexpectedly heightened emotions, such as during a sudden quarrel or other intense and immediate event.  A classic example of a "heat of passion" killing is a spouse walking in on an affair and killing at that time in a fit of rage. 

Involuntary Manslaughter (Penal Code § 192(b)):

Involuntary manslaughter is the killing of a person by a willful act of "criminal negligence."  "Criminal negligence" is not simply carelessness or poor judgment.  Criminal negligence means:

  • Defendant acted recklessly and created a high risk of death or great bodily injury; and
  • A reasonable person would have known that acting in that way would create such a risk.

Elements Of Manslaughter

The prosecution must prove the following to convict a defendant of manslaughter:

Voluntary Manslaughter:

  • Defendant killed someone
  • Defendant was provoked
  • Defendant acted in the "heat of passion" due to the provocation and intense emotion which obscured his reasoning or judgment

"Heat of passion" does not exist if: 

    • Defendant premeditated and planned the killing; or 
    • If enough time passed between the provocation and killing to allow an average person to "cool off"
  • A reasonable, average person would have acted rashly and without due deliberation from the provocation

Involuntary Manslaughter:

  • Defendant committed a crime with a high risk of death or great bodily injury or defendant committed a lawful act, but with "criminal negligence"
  • Defendant's acts unlawfully caused another person's death

Punishment For Manslaughter

As with any crime, the potential punishment for manslaughter will vary based on the facts of the case, and can include:

Voluntary Manslaughter – 3, 6 or 11 years in state prison 

Involuntary Manslaughter – 2, 3 or 4 years in state prison

Defenses To Manslaughter

As with any crime, the potential punishment for manslaughter will vary based on the facts of the case, and can include:

  • Self Defense or Defense of Another Person
  • Justifiable Homicide
  • Mistaken Identification
  • Accident
  • Lack of Causation (something other than defendant's actions were the most direct cause of the victim's death)
  • No criminal negligence (for involuntary manslaughter)

 Contact Us

If you or someone you care about is facing criminal investigation or criminal charges of any type, please contact the criminal defense attorneys at the Weinrieb Law Firm. We can be reached twenty–four hours a day, seven days a week at (818) 933–6555, or through the confidential and secure email form on the firm's website at www.VWattorneys.com.

 

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