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Understanding the crime of voluntary manslaughter

On Behalf of | Oct 10, 2023 | Violent Crimes

Being charged with any homicide crime in California is terrifying for anyone. Even if you don’t face murder charges, voluntary manslaughter is a serious offense. These are the state’s laws on this charge.

Voluntary manslaughter explained

Under California law, voluntary manslaughter is one of many violent crimes that occur when a person kills someone else in a confrontation. Unlike murder, the crime does not involve planning to kill another person; instead, it takes place under circumstances such as the heat of passion or as a result of a fight. In some cases, manslaughter happens when a person is provoked.

An example of voluntary manslaughter is a man flying into a rage and killing another man moments after he walks in on him in bed with his wife. While the man didn’t plan on killing, his actions took place because he acted in the heat of passion over his wife’s infidelity.

Potential voluntary manslaughter defenses

Certain defenses are common in voluntary manslaughter cases. One is to argue self-defense; if the accused believed they were in imminent danger of bodily harm or death, self-defense might be a good defense.

Another possible defense is to claim that the killing was done by accident. However, this would require sufficient evidence to show that the defendant acted lawfully and did not act negligently. This defense might be challenging to prove in court.

Insanity is another defense that might work in a case involving voluntary manslaughter. If the circumstances support this argument, it could possibly succeed; for example, if a person has a mental health condition and was off their medication or took medication that caused bad side effects, insanity might be a strong defense for their case.

Voluntary manslaughter charges should be taken seriously. Even if you aren’t convicted, a charge alone can adversely affect your life.