What are the Possible Consequences for Manslaughter in Los Angeles?
Although manslaughter, or involuntary manslaughter, may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony under California law, generally you will be receiving a felony charge. Simply, this charge is defined as killing another person without malice aforethought or premeditation. Manslaughter charges may come from unintentional yet negligent acts or in situations where a person responds in the “heat of passion” due to some sort of provocation. Depending on how your charge is classified and the circumstances surrounding the case, you could face anywhere from 2 to 11 years in state prison if convicted.
Simply, there are three types of manslaughter charges, they are:
- Voluntary Manslaughter – As defined by California law, voluntary manslaughter is the unlawful killing of another person without malice, “upon a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion.” An example being, you come home to find your wife in bed with another man and violence ensues that causes the other man’s death. You could face voluntary manslaughter charges if you killed the man in a fit of rage. Your act cannot be premeditated and was committed without malice aforethought, thus making manslaughter charges a possibility. Penalties still may be up to 3, 6, or 11 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Involuntary Manslaughter – Involuntary manslaughter is defined as the unlawful killing of another person without malice, possibly “in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony; or in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, or without due caution or circumspection.”
Thus, you accidentally killing the other person during the commission of a misdemeanor crime or killing another person in the performance of a lawful act that might produce death, may have you facing involuntary manslaughter charges. The intent to kill is not required in these charges but you have done something that eventually leads to the other persons’ death. Penalties can be up to 2, 3, or 4 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- Vehicular Manslaughter – You may face vehicular manslaughter charges for unlawfully killing another person without malice, while driving a motor vehicle in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, and with gross negligence. Also driving a vehicle in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence. Vehicular manslaughter charges can also possibly apply without gross negligence, such as cases where you intentionally cause an accident to commit insurance fraud. Vehicular manslaughter could be charged as a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail, or as a felony punishable by up to six years in state prison.
Keep in mind that these are all very serious charges and could change your life forever. Getting ahead of the situation with a professional Los Angeles criminal attorney will help you to make sure the outcome is the best it can be.
What Are Some Pertinent Facts to Know About Manslaughter Charges?
Any time you cause the unintentional death of another you can end up with a manslaughter charge or an involuntary manslaughter charge.
The unintentional death of another person could be the result of reckless actions, negligence, criminal activity, or any actions you may have taken that contributed to their death. There are many examples of involuntary manslaughter today due to texting and driving, using, and abusing drugs, and accidental discharge of a firearm.
Also, there is a difference in the charges of manslaughter 1 and 2. The first occurs when death results from you committing a high degree of negligence or recklessness, and the second occurs when death is caused by one who commits or attempts to commit an unlawful act, which usually results in a misdemeanor charge.
The Los Angeles courts still consider all forms of manslaughter charges very serious in nature, but the classification of your charge can affect your consequences greatly. Your criminal defense attorney will work to provide the best legal path possible so that the classification of your charge will be to your benefit.
Can I Get a Manslaughter Charge Reduced in Los Angeles?
Voluntary manslaughter is killing another person when you’re angered, or your emotions are provoked, and the other person is killed in a confrontation. Effectively, your criminal defense attorney will work to show that your manslaughter charge was provoked and spontaneous, which resulted in a sudden quarrel or instigated the “ heat of passion” thereby causing the death.
Your attorneys’ skill comes into play in convincing the court that the provocation was considered “adequate,” and that other reasonable people, who would be in the same situation, would have reacted similarly.
Usually, Los Angeles County prosecutors don’t normally even file voluntary manslaughter charges, but the result is part of negotiations in a murder case where you freely admit to killing the victim, but your criminal lawyer is attempting to get your charges reduced to manslaughter.
This shows just how important your criminal defense lawyer can be to mitigating an even more serious situation.
What Are Some Common Defenses for a Manslaughter Charge?
There are some simple defenses used for manslaughter charges, such as:
- Self Defense – In some cases, your criminal defense lawyers may be able to present a successful self-defense argument. As always, the details of every case are different.
- Accident – In other cases, your criminal attorneys may be able to present an argument the killing was a complete accident.
- Insanity – In some limited situations, your experienced criminal lawyers may be able to present an insanity defense that is based on being able to prove you didn’t know the act of killing the victim was wrong, or you didn’t understand that what you were doing was capable of killing the victim.
It’s important to note that consulting with your criminal defense lawyer immediately is your best defense. Every case varies, but the details used correctly can sometimes very effectively mitigate the impact on your life.
I Have Been Charged with Manslaughter in Los Angeles, What Should I Do First?
First and foremost, if you or a family member are facing Manslaughter charges in L.A., you need to consult with a Los Angeles manslaughter attorney. The Miranda Rights law firm has been working successfully in defending L.A. clients for manslaughter in a myriad of cases. Consult with them now, and don’t leave your future to chance.