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Webster defines “Manslaughter” as the unlawful killing of a human being without express or implied malice premeditation—this would mean someone was killed with ill intent. In comparison to first or second-degree murder, manslaughter would involve far less moral blame. This indicates that the kill was likely an accident or not aforethought. Manslaughter typically does not get punishment as great as murder does, despite the seriousness of the crime. Experienced Decatur attorneys at Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. can explain all of this to you in detail.

There is voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter, which are the two main distinctions of manslaughter.

Voluntary manslaughter is also considered a killing in the “heat of passion”, which typically occurs when an unlikely person is provoked in some way to commit a murder. There is an irresistible impulse of emotion that is sparked in a normally rational person. Like a snap. It is difficult to call it intentional when the emotional context almost justifies the action.

To explain the basic concept of how voluntary manslaughter verdicts are determined, here is an example of a voluntary manslaughter scenario:

A husband or wife comes home in the middle of the day. Unbeknownst to them, their spouse is home. Upon more inspection, they find them in bed committing adultery. In the “heat of the moment”, emotions arise that were in no way premeditated, and things happen. Out of anger, hurt, or shame a life is taken. It is very likely that a judge and/or jury will find this to be a case of voluntary manslaughter based on the basic facts.

Involuntary Manslaughter refers to an unintentional homicide from the commission of a crime or negligence. With the defendant having a clear understanding of their disregard of human life it is reason to be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

To explain the basic concept of how involuntary manslaughter verdicts are determined, here is an example of a voluntary manslaughter scenario:

A couple of friends have a drink or two at a local bar and decide to drive home because it is not that far away. On the way home, the driver loses control of his car and strikes a light post. The passenger is then ejected from the vehicle and dies due to the injuries sustained. The driver’s blood alcohol concentration level was higher than the legal limit. Although he may not have intended to kill his friend, he will be charged for involuntary manslaughter due his negligence. He is well aware that is illegal to drink and drive, he made the decision to do so, and his passenger and friend died because of this negligence.

When concerning an accidental murder, there are two different charges that are on the table: second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Depending on the incident itself, there may be no charges allocated to a suspect. Which leaves a prosecutor to rely on the extent of the negligence that occurred. Accidental second-degree murder is also named as implied malice, abandoned and malignant heart murder, and depraved murder.