San Diego County Manslaughter Defense Attorney
In California State, Penal Code 187 states that homicide is divided into two classifications: murder and manslaughter. Murder is the criminal act of killing a person with “malice aforethought.” Whereas in Penal Code 182, manslaughter is defined as a crime that is less severe than murder but a serious one in San Diego County. It is the unlawful killing of a person without the involvement of malice.
There are three (3) types of manslaughter. Voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, and vehicular manslaughter. If you are charged with any of these types, you must immediately talk to a defense attorney who can help you distinguish one from the other better. He will also lead you in planning the best defense for your case. Lee Law Group is a legal company in San Diego County, CA that is committed and providing you with high-quality legal services.
Call Lee Law Group at (619) 349-1588 to get a free consultation.
What are the differences between the three (3) types of manslaughter?
In Penal Code 182, the law defines voluntary manslaughter as “the unlawful killing of a human being upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion.” Meaning to say, voluntary manslaughter involves the lack of prior intent to kill; the intent to kill the offender only existed due to the heat of passion succeeding a dispute with the victim.
The dispute is any situation that caused a reasonable person, the defender, to become troubled mentally and emotionally. As a result, he intentionally killed the victim without careful forethought. The heat of passion typically pertains to an irresistible emotion that’s felt by the offender and made him kill.
Elements of Voluntary Manslaughter Conviction
The prosecution must prove some elements in order to convict the accused of voluntary manslaughter. These are the following:
- The defendant was provoked at the time of manslaughter;
- The defendant acted with debilitated reasoning and judgment due to the provocation;
- The provocation could generally affect any reasonable person in that same position.
Defenses to Voluntary Manslaughter Charges
In most cases, the defenses applied to manslaughter charges are the same as those of murder charges. The defendant’s side can state that they did not commit the crime, justify his actions, or claim that their actions do not constitute as voluntary manslaughter.
Actual innocence is not committing the crime at all. If you did not do it, this is your best defense. You are considered innocent until the prosecutor proves that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You can go against the validity of the evidence demonstrated by the prosecution.
Self-defense is any person’s way of saving himself from imminent danger. If a strong force is required to protect oneself from harm, he is then entitled to self-defense. In using this as a defense to voluntary manslaughter charges, you need to correctly establish the reasonable need for a powerful force that can be deadly as well.
If you were intoxicated (by alcohol, drugs, etc.) against your will at the time of manslaughter, the judge might think that you didn’t have proper judgment and reasoning. It can be used as a defense to voluntary manslaughter as long as you can support it with evidence.
Accidental killing is another kind of defense. If you can prove in a California court that the killing was a result of an accident, then you may become successful either in eliminating the charges or reducing them to involuntary manslaughter charges.
Insanity is another way to defend yourself against the charges being put against you. Typically, the court’s jurisdiction relies on the inability of the offender to comprehend the consequences of his actions.
Punishment for Voluntary Manslaughter
According to Federal law, voluntary manslaughter is considered a felony. It is punishable by state imprisonment for three (3), six, (6), or eleven (11) years. Moreover, a conviction of voluntary manslaughter charge is counted as one strike subject to California’s Three Strikes Law.
Involuntary manslaughter is an unintentional killing due to criminal negligence or recklessness brought about by intoxication. It is also sometimes referred to as “criminally negligent homicide.” California State Laws define involuntary manslaughter in Penal Code 182 as an unlawful act that is also a felony and able to instigate death due to lack of caution and circumspection.
Defenses to Involuntary Manslaughter Charges
The defenses to involuntary manslaughter charges are almost similar to those of voluntary manslaughter charges. They include self-defense or defense for another person in which you try to oppose the force being thrown against you or someone with a stronger force that resulted in the death of the attacker.
Another defense is to claim that the death was an accident. You can explain in detail how the death of another person was never intended by any of you present in the crime scene, and most of all, that you are not responsible for the death.
Lastly, you can also say that there is no sufficient evidence to support the claim and charges of the prosecution.
Punishment for Involuntary Manslaughter
In San Diego County, involuntary manslaughter is less severe than voluntary manslaughter, but still, it is a felony crime. According to the law, it is punishable by two (2), three (3), or four (4) years of imprisonment in county jail. Probation may also be granted to the convicted depending on the circumstances and the weight of the offense. Additionally, you may also be asked to pay a $10,000 penalty.
Vehicular manslaughter is unlawful killing while inside a vehicle. It can be caused by overspeeding or texting while driving. Normally, vehicular manslaughter is charged to a person who kills someone while driving because he is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He never intended to kill anyone, but due to recklessness or negligence, he killed someone.
Elements of Vehicular Manslaughter Conviction
The following elements are essential in constituting a vehicular manslaughter conviction. The prosecution will work hard in demonstrating them:
- The commission of an infraction, misdemeanor, or any other unlawful act while driving a car;
- An offense such as an infraction, misdemeanor, or any other unlawful act is an imposed threat to human life;
- You committed the unlawful act without caution or with negligence;
- The unlawful act you committed caused the death of another individual/s.
Defenses to Vehicular Manslaughter Charges
The possible defenses to vehicular manslaughter charges include stating the following forms of denial:
- That you were not driving the vehicle at the specific date and time of vehicular manslaughter;
- That you were driving the vehicle at the certain date and time of the vehicular manslaughter but your behavior was not the reason for another’s death;
- That your behavior at the certain date and time of the vehicular manslaughter was not negligent.
Punishment for Vehicular Manslaughter
According to California Penal Code 192, vehicular manslaughter can either be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. The decision of the jury lies in the facts and evidence of your case as well as your prior legal case (if any). A misdemeanor is punishable by a year of imprisonment in the county jail, whereas a felony is punishable by two (2), four (4), or six (6) years of imprisonment in state prison. The convicted’s license will also be suspended.
Get Legal Help From Lee Law Group
Dealing with any type of manslaughter is complicated and never easy, especially if you are all alone. You may get moral support from your family, but one of the most effective ways to win your case is to get legal support from Lee Law Group. We house a San Diego County team of skilled and experienced defense attorneys who can get you out of trouble legally. We will orchestrate the best defense plan for your specific case.
Call Lee Law Group at (619) 349-1588 and book a free consultation with us now!