Crime Overview Voluntary Manslaughter

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In 2006, more than 1.4 million violent crimes were reported across the United States, and thousands more go unreported each year. Manslaughter, which is quite common in the U.S., is among these violent crimes. Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of one human being by another without advance planning. There are two types of manslaughter crimes: voluntary and involuntary. Vehicular manslaughter is also a type of manslaughter crime.

Voluntary manslaughter occurs when a person intentionally kills another person after adequate provocation. This means, that an event or action took place that was enough to provoke an otherwise "ordinary person" to "sudden and intense passion" in which case the individual loses self-control. An example of this would be if a man were to come home, find his wife in bed with another person, and kill them both in a jealous rage, this could be considered adequate provocation and thus voluntary manslaughter. Additionally, the time between the event or action and the killing is generally brief, meaning it is rarely long enough for the passion to cool off. If a long amount of time took place between the action and the killing, it could be considered premeditated murder.

In some cases, imperfect self-defense may be negotiated. Self-defense is considered imperfect when the killer acted on what they truly believed to be as a result of self defense. If this is believed to be reasonable it is considered justified and not unlawful. If it is not then the it would be classified as voluntary manslaughter.

The punishment for voluntary manslaughter varies greatly from state to state and more importantly, case to case. The severity of the punishment will also depend on a wide variety of factors.

If you have been accused of voluntary manslaughter, whether you are guilty or not, you will need to hire a criminal lawyer or attorney. If you are suing a convicted criminal for damages resulting from voluntary manslaughter, you should hire a civil lawyer or attorney. If the person was not convicted and you still want to sue for damages, you should still hire a civil lawyer or attorney. Criminal lawyers and attorneys represent individuals who have been charged with crimes by arguing their cases in courts of law. A criminal lawyer or attorney will typically have a private practice concentrating on criminal law.

If you have been arrested for voluntary manslaughter, you should request an attorney at the time you are arrested or contact a private criminal lawyer or attorney immediately. A good criminal attorney will be familiar with voluntary manslaughter laws of the state in which the crime took place, they will be familiar with local court customs and procedures, in addition to having a clear understanding of the "hidden costs" of pleading guilty.

When searching for a criminal lawyer or attorney, visit the American Bar Association, and access the lawyer locater. This tool can help you locate an attorney quickly. Access to the lawyer locater and the website is free.