Manslaughter is an unlawful act of killing someone else without malice. It is classified as a violent crime with other types of violent criminal acts under California law. Violent crime is whereby you cause a threat of violence or the use of violence upon a victim. Violent crimes such as manslaughter can be committed with or without the use of a weapon.
Violent crimes such as manslaughter can result in lengthy jail terms, death sentences, or even life imprisonment. The offense has severe legal consequences, a reason that will make you find an experienced criminal attorney from The LA Criminal Defense Law Firm for fighting for your rights. The attorney will help you in choosing the right option and negotiate the terms on your behalf.
For you to be convicted for manslaughter in California, there are elements that the prosecutor must prove:
- Someone was killed because of your actions.
- The action that you did was reckless and that it was dangerous.
- You should have known, or you knew that your action was dangerous to others.
- The manslaughter was as a result of a fight or heat of passion.
In California, manslaughter is of three different types: voluntary, involuntary, and vehicular manslaughter. Each type covers another kind of criminal behavior.
Voluntary Manslaughter as a Violent Crime
It is a type of crime that you commit when you kill a person in a quarrel or sudden heat of passion. In these instances, manslaughter happens quickly when an argument becomes deadly with emotions that later drives you to kill another person. An example of such a case is when you get overwhelmed when you get your spouse in bed with another person, and you go ahead and kill them without having a second thought. Involuntary manslaughter, there is usually no cooling time for you between the provocation period and the time that you act.
For voluntary manslaughter, it requires that you react at the moment you are provoked and overwhelmed. If there is a time-lapse between the provocation and your action time, you will face murder charges instead of manslaughter charges. For you to be convicted for voluntary manslaughter charges, the prosecutor must prove that you were provoked and that the provocation led to the action with reasoning and impaired judgment. He or she must prove that the other person drove you over the edge and lost your self-control, and killed the person.
Involuntary Manslaughter as a Violent Crime
Involuntary manslaughter happens when your reckless conduct or negligence causes unlawful death to another person. In this case, the act can be accidental or intentional. Whether intended or accidental, you are liable for your actions in a court of law. The act would be considered as a criminal act if you acted in a way that you created a risk of injury or death to another person. The reason being, any reasonable person would be aware that acting in a certain way would cause a threat to another person.
You can often face involuntary manslaughter charges when breaking the law and cause death to another person. An example is a case where their child may accompany a parent to the mall. Instead of moving out of the car with them, you decide to leave them and forget to aerate the vehicle. The child dies out of excess heat. You will face involuntary manslaughter charges because you had the opportunity to prevent such a death by asking your child to accompany you to the mall instead of leaving them behind.
Vehicular Manslaughter Criminal Offense
You will be convicted for vehicular manslaughter if you drive without reasonable care and cause death to another person unintentionally. You will be charged with vehicular manslaughter charges if the following elements are proved to be true: you were speeding at an excess rate and driving a vehicle that you knew was unsafe to operate. Intentional crash for financial gains and driving under the influence are other factors that will cause your manslaughter charges to be considered as vehicular.
For the prosecutor to convict you for vehicular manslaughter, they must prove that you committed a misdemeanor while driving. There must also be proof that you were unlawfully doing a lawful act. The prosecutor must prove that the action was dangerous to human life and that you acted out of negligence.
There are different types of vehicular manslaughter in California. It can fall under the following:
Vehicular Manslaughter with Gross Negligence.
It is the most severe type of vehicular manslaughter. It happens when you are driving, and you commit a misdemeanor or an infraction, especially in a traffic situation. It may also occur when you unlawfully do the right thing. Gross negligence can result in the death of another person. Therefore, the prosecutor will be interested in proving your gross negligence and how the crime was committed.
Vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence goes beyond lapse error, ordinary carelessness, or mere inattentiveness. Therefore, the prosecutor will prove that you acted recklessly in a manner that created a high risk of bodily injury or death. He or she will also confirm that you well knew that the act is dangerous to another person while doing the act. In case the prosecutor does not prove your actions, you may be charged and prosecuted for a misdemeanor crime. The death of the person that results from gross negligence must meet the conditions of being natural, direct, and probable.
Vehicular Manslaughter as a Misdemeanor
It mainly happens in a normal situation whereby you kill someone when doing the right thing in the wrong way. For example, you may be turning to either the left or the right side, and you fail to look out for the pedestrians. The crime is charged as a misdemeanor, and you will therefore face the charges related to a misdemeanor offense. The only difference between the vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter is your negligence.
Vehicular Manslaughter for Financial Gain
This type of manslaughter happens when you intentionally kill someone in a collision. In this case, you get involved in an accident because you want a claim from an insurance company for your financial gains. The insurance company will likely compensate you. The reason being, if you prove yourself that you did not intentionally cause the accident, then the company may look at it as accidental. The same case will happen to your issue if you are convicted for vehicular manslaughter for financial gain. Your attorney will gather all the evidence that will support your crime as accidental.
Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated
The criminal act is similar to manslaughter with vehicular manslaughter only that you are intoxicated in this case. The prosecutor will seek that charge if they genuinely believe that you were indeed intoxicated during the incidence and commit the manslaughter with gross negligence. The prosecutor will charge you with gross vehicular manslaughter if any of the following conditions are true:
- You had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.8 or more
- You had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.5 and that you are under the age of 21 years
- That you were under the influence of alcohol while you were driving.
Penalties for Voluntary Manslaughter Charges
When you are charged with voluntary manslaughter charges, the crime is considered a felony in California law. The criminal sentence for manslaughter include:
- 3 or 11 years of imprisonment in California state prison.
- Fines of up to $ 10,000 and
- Formal probation.
Therefore, if you are convicted of voluntary manslaughter, it is essential to have an attorney with experience in violent crime laws. The attorney will fight for you to ensure the case against you is dismissed or the charge is reduced.
Penalties for Involuntary Manslaughter Charges in California
When you are convicted for involuntary manslaughter, your charges may be lesser than voluntary manslaughter. The reasoning behind it is that death was not intentional because it was from an unintentional act. In Los Angeles, California, involuntary manslaughter is considered a felony offense. When convicted, you face a criminal sentence that includes fines of up to $ 10,000, formal probation, and 2, 3, or 4 years of imprisonment in California state prison.
Penalties for Vehicular Manslaughter
In California, vehicular manslaughter can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. The charge will depend on the circumstances and facts of your specific incident and previous criminal records. There are different charges for different vehicular manslaughter.
Penalties for Vehicular Manslaughter as a Misdemeanor
You will be charged with vehicular manslaughter as a misdemeanor when you commit an infraction or misdemeanor while driving. It will also be charged as a misdemeanor if your conduct is considered as ordinary negligence. The crime is punishable by fines of $1,000, probation, and a one-year jail term in the county jail.
Penalties for Vehicular Manslaughter as a Felony.
If you are charged with vehicular manslaughter, you will face penalties dependent on the incident's specifics. If you are found guilty of vehicular manslaughter, your penalties can be a combination of serving a jail term in the County prison for two, three, or four years. You can also pay a fine not exceeding $10,000, and you can be put on probation with the supervision of a probation officer. Suspension of your driving privileges is also a possible penalty.
Depending on the specifics of the incident, the following penalties apply. When you are charged with vehicular manslaughter when intoxicated and without gross negligence, you will serve a jail term of one year. You can also face imprisonment in The State prison for 16 months, two or three years. If charged with vehicular manslaughter and gross negligence, you face charges under the felony-murder rule, whose penalty is imprisonment for four, six, or ten years in state prison.
All the above penalties are a result of the determination of manslaughter guilt. The best way to avoid the harsh penalties is to consult an attorney from The LA Criminal Defense Attorney. The attorney will explore all resources and options to reduce the charges or have your case dismissed.
Legal Defenses for Manslaughter Charges
When facing any manslaughter charges in California, you can challenge the case filed against you. Therefore, you have a chance to gather all the legal defense that will be used to justify, excuse, or explain your actions. Consequently, you need to contact your attorney from The LA Criminal Defense Law Firm to see you through the process. Some of the defenses that are helpful in your manslaughter case include:
- Accidental killing
- Acting under duress
- False accusation
- Violation of your constitutional right and
- The act was not a reckless One.
Each type of manslaughter has legal defenses that your attorney will present to ensure that your case is dropped or reduced.
Legal Defenses to Voluntary Manslaughter
For your case to be dismissed or your charges reduced, you must prove to the prosecutor that you acted in defense of others or self-defense. It can be hard to file for a claim, especially if you do not understand the injury law. Therefore, it is crucial to hire an attorney who will create a strong defense to make the case filed against you. Some of the common legal protections are Self-defense and defense.
The California self-defense laws could justify your crime if you killed someone to protect yourself from being killed, raped, or suffering severe injuries. Your attorney will defend your case successfully because the self-defense law allows you to take any necessary steps to protect yourself in case of dangers. The legal defense applies when:
- You used the necessary force to defend yourself or others against a particular danger.
- You had a reason to believe that you or someone else was in great danger of being killed, and you had to defend.
- You believed by using the deadly force was the only option that you had left to defend yourself and others against a particular danger.
However, imperfect self-defense is excluded in the law if you killed someone because you believed you were in danger of being seriously hurt. The prosecutor will also consider killing because you thought that you needed a deadly force to defend yourself as imperfect self-defense. If your prosecutor proves the above elements, then you will not be charged for voluntary manslaughter according to the California laws.
Insanity as a Legal Defense to Voluntary Manslaughter
If you are charged for killing someone because you cannot differentiate between right or wrong, you can win your case. You will also not be charged if you do not know the nature of your actions. The two elements excuse you from a guilty verdict because of insanity.
Accident as a Legal Defense for Voluntary Manslaughter
The prosecutor would drop your case if you killed someone accidentally. The legal defense will only apply if you had no criminal intent to kill. Your chances of winning are high if you did not act negligently during the time the incident happened and if only you were engaging in a lawful behavior at the time of the incident.
Plea Bargain from Murder as a Legal Defense
The crime of voluntary manslaughter in California in itself is a legal defense in a murder case. Most voluntary manslaughter happens when you are in the heat of passion, and you have no other choice. Therefore, your attorney will defend your case by proving that you acted during a sudden quarrel and in the heat of passion and therefore had no other choice left. In that case, your sentence and other penalties are significantly reduced.
False Manslaughter Accusations as a Legal Defense
People often make mistakes accusing others with no much evidence to prove it. The reason being, a friend or a family member may want to have revenge for something that you did. For example, you may have domestic quarrels leading to divorce. Your partner may have disliked the idea of divorce and will take advantage of the situation and accuse you of having committed voluntary manslaughter. In this case, your experienced attorney, who is well conversant with homicide cases, will stand with you and prove that you were falsely accused of killing.
Legal Defenses to Involuntary Manslaughter
If you are charged with involuntary manslaughter, you must defend yourself to win the charges against you. Some of the legal defenses include:
There is No Sufficient Evidence to Convict You.
One of your attorney's legal defenses will strongly prove that there is no sufficient evidence to charge you for involuntary manslaughter. The individual and private investigators may have proof to crucify you for manslaughter. Still, if you are killed without an intention to do so, the prosecutor will not use the evidence to charge you.
Insanity as a Legal Defense
If your activity meets the California legal definition of insanity, charges pressed against you will be dropped. The law states that you will not be charged for involuntary manslaughter if you are not aware that you have committed the crime and that you do not know the nature of your actions.
The Killing was Accidental
Almost all cases of involuntary manslaughter are accidental in some sense because the defendant does not involve themselves in situations that are meant to cause any harm. If the defendant did not engage in any wrong action and was not negligent, then the legal accident defense applies. Your attorney will show that you had no criminal intent to kill; you were not negligent during the act and were involved in a lawful action when you made the killing.
For the above defenses to be considered by the prosecutor, you should contact The LA Criminal defense law firm to give you support by availing their experienced attorney.
Legal Defenses to Vehicular Manslaughter Charges
You must prove to the prosecutor that you did not act with negligence, and you were not driving the vehicle and that your actions were not the primary cause of death. Some of the legal defenses that your attorney will present are:
Innocence as a Legal Defense
For the prosecutor to charge you for vehicular manslaughter, they must prove that you were indeed guilty. Until that is done, then you are considered innocent. Your attorney will defend the accusations against you by providing the evidence that you did not commit the murder, but you were at the scene of the incident.
Accidental Killing as a Defense to Vehicular Manslaughter.
If your attorney can prove before the court that you did not kill intentionally, the prosecutor will have no choice but to dismiss the accusations against you. It may be the fault of the other person that led to the killing. For example, a person may have ignored the traffic rules and that you were lawfully driving on the California roads. In case you kill the person who violated the traffic rule, then there will be no charges pressed against you because you committed the crime while you were involved in a lawful activity.
Bail for Manslaughter Case in California
Most California counties have set bail guidelines that determine the amount appropriate for felony and misdemeanor convictions. Some of the bail amounts for manslaughter charges are:
- $100,000 for voluntary manslaughter
- $50,00 for involuntary manslaughter
- $50,000 to $250,000 for vehicular manslaughter
Find a Manslaughter Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
Manslaughter is a violent crime that is taken very seriously in California. If you face manslaughter charges in Los Angeles, California, The LA Criminal Defense Law Firm is here to help. Our firm has been operating for many years and fighting for our clients' future and rights. Our attorneys are experienced and will help reduce the consequences of your charges and get the best outcome in your criminal case. We will review your claim, come up with the best legal defense to your case, and ensure that your rights are not violated. Contact us through 310-935-1675, and we will do everything legally possible to have your charges reduced, or the case dismissed.