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Understanding California’s criminal defense manslaughter laws

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

The difference between facing a homicide charge or voluntary manslaughter in Los Angeles, CA can be huge. A murder charge carries a sentence of between 15 years and life. In contrast, you will face a maximum of 11 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter.

What is voluntary manslaughter in California?

The California penal code provides two possibilities for a person suspected of killing another. A murder charge is brought when you kill somebody else with malice aforethought. Malice aforethought is described as the intent to kill with disregard for human life. If you and your attorney can prove you did not have malice aforethought, you will face a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter. To prove you did not have malice afterthought, you need to show:

  • You were provoked by a sudden quarrel or extreme emotions
  • Your actions were intended to defend yourself
  • Extreme deadly force was your only course of action

Involuntary manslaughter charges

Involuntary manslaughter charges can be brought against you if you killed another person without any intent. An involuntary manslaughter criminal charge can be brought when:

  • You kill a person without intent or disregard for human life
  • You are knowingly involved in an activity with a high risk of a fatality

A charge of involuntary manslaughter does not carry the same level of penalty. If you are convicted of involuntary manslaughter you can spend between one and four years in county jail.

Understanding the different types of manslaughter laws in Los Angeles, California is a good first step toward determining how you will be tried during your case.