Voluntary manslaughter: What is it? What do you have to expect in the criminal justice system if you have been accused and charged? Voluntary manslaughter is an intentional killing of another person, but there was no prior intent to kill. Usually these are seem as “heat of passion” crimes where the killing happens almost unexpectedly. An example of this is somebody who comes home from work to see their wife with another man, and kills them both in the heat of the moment. The circumstances that caused the crime must have caused a person to become emotionally disturbed, or else they will be charged with first or second-degree murder.

California Law 

In many states, there are voluntary manslaughter laws that state that defendants should receive fines, a prison sentence of ten years, or both. However, in California this is a little different. California is probably one of the most specific states when it comes to their manslaughter laws, and states that anyone found guilty will receive a sentence of 3, 6, or 11 years depending on the circumstances.

Aggravating Factors Play an Important Role

Aggravating factors “add to” a sentence. If the court finds that there are circumstances that aggravate the crime and make it more serious, it could lead to a harsher sentence for a defendant. How brutal was the crime committed? What criminal history did the defendant have before the manslaughter took place? What was the vulnerability of the victim? These are all factors that are taken into consideration. Of course, everything will come down to the rules of the jurisdiction but in the end, the prosecution will look at the aggravating factors and determine what sentence is necessary.

During this time, it is important to have a criminal defense attorney on your side who can point out the aggravating factors and show you what you should expect from your case. Voluntary manslaughter is a very serious crime that is held high in the California courts. Don’t do it alone, so give us a call today.