Are you facing criminal charges for voluntary manslaughter in Los Angeles? If so, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as you can. You have the right to defend yourself against any criminal charges, and attorney Ambrosio Rodriguez can help.
As a former prosecutor, Ambrosio E. Rodriguez has a unique understanding of California’s criminal law and procedure. Using this insight, he offers unparalleled legal representation to clients who have been charged with serious crimes in the greater Los Angeles area. Using an aggressive approach which undermines the prosecution’s case, Mr. Rodriguez is often able to get the charges against his clients reduced or dismissed. Call his Los Angeles office today to schedule a free consultation and learn more.
- 1 How is Manslaughter Different from Murder?
- 2 What is Voluntary Manslaughter – California Penal Code 192(a)?
- 3 Penalties for Voluntary Manslaughter
- 4 Defending Voluntary Manslaughter Charges
- 5 Los Angeles Voluntary Manslaughter Defense Attorney
How is Manslaughter Different from Murder?
In California, it is a crime to take another person’s life or cause them to die. If you are responsible for the death of another person you can face criminal charges for homicide and/or manslaughter. Homicide occurs when you intentionally and maliciously cause the death of another person. Manslaughter occurs when you cause the death of another person without malice. The primary difference between murder and manslaughter is whether or not the death was planned.
Manslaughter as a Lesser Included Offense
In many cases, manslaughter will be charged as a lesser included offense with charges of homicide. The state will often include manslaughter charges to increase the chances of securing a conviction in your case. Even if the prosecution is not able to establish that you were guilty of homicide, they may have sufficient evidence to support a conviction of manslaughter.
What is Voluntary Manslaughter – California Penal Code 192(a)?
The crime of manslaughter is actually divided into smaller sub-categories: voluntary, involuntary, and vehicular manslaughter. Voluntary manslaughter is the most serious type of manslaughter. Under California Penal Code Section 192(a) PC, voluntary manslaughter occurs when you unlawfully kill another person without malice “upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion.”
Heat of Passion
Voluntary manslaughter occurs when you kill another person, but only do so because you were provoked and reacted in a heat of passion. In order to avoid a conviction on more serious homicide charges, you will have to prove:
- You were provoked;
- You acted rashly and under the influence of intense emotion because you were provoked;
- This emotion obscured your reasoning or judgment;
- The provocation would have caused the average person to act rashly and without deliberation; and
- You reacted in direct and immediate response to this provocation.
There is no legal requirement that you suffer from one specific overwhelming emotion. You can satisfy the emotion element of the crime as long as you are overcome by any emotion so strong that it alters your ability to think clearly.
It is important to know that lapses of time between the provoking event and your unlawful actions will trigger more serious homicide charges. Voluntary manslaughter requires killing another person in a direct and immediate response to a provoking event. If you had time to cool off between the events, you will likely face criminal charges for homicide.
Penalties for Voluntary Manslaughter
Voluntary manslaughter is a felony, and the most serious type of manslaughter charge you can face. If you are convicted of voluntary manslaughter you will face a criminal sentence including any or all of the following penalties:
- 3, 6, or 11 years in a California state prison;
- Formal probation; and/or
- $10,000 in criminal fines.
Simply having a criminal record will make you vulnerable to certain social and civil penalties. These penalties, which are known as collateral consequences, exist simply because you have been convicted of a crime. These collateral consequences will make it difficult to live a normal life and do things you once took for granted. Collateral consequences of a voluntary manslaughter conviction include:
- Inability to get a job in certain industries (education, healthcare, government);
- Difficulty securing employment in any industry;
- Difficulty renting or buying a home;
- Frequent denials of loan, school, and business applications;
- Loss of gun rights;
- Adverse child custody and visitation decisions.
California Three Strikes Law
Since voluntary manslaughter is a serious criminal offense, a conviction will generate a strike on your record. Under California’s Three Strikes Sentencing Law, having a strike on your record will subject you to harsher criminal penalties if you are convicted of future crimes. If you have multiple strikes on your record and are convicted of another serious crime you face a criminal sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
Defending Voluntary Manslaughter Charges
When you are accused of killing another person it is important to defend yourself. When you are defending yourself against charges of voluntary manslaughter it is important to assert any argument that helps to explain, excuse, or justify your behavior. When a defense is argued successfully the prosecution will be more likely to negotiate a plea bargain or dismiss the charges in your case. Defenses that may be helpful in your Los Angeles voluntary manslaughter case include:
- Self-defense or defense of another person;
- Mistaken identity; or
- False accusation.
Hiring an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney to argue these defenses on your behalf will increase your chances of getting the best possible outcome in your criminal case.
Los Angeles Voluntary Manslaughter Defense Attorney
Have you been arrested for voluntary manslaughter in Los Angeles? Call The Rodriguez Law Group today to learn about how we can help you fight the criminal charges you face. Our voluntary manslaughter defense attorneys have nearly two decades of legal experience and understand how to handle these serious criminal matters.
We know that your future is on the line and will do everything in our power to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed. In the event that you are convicted of voluntary manslaughter we will advocate to get you the lenient criminal sentence of probation. The sooner we can get intervene in your case, the greater your chances of success, so do not hesitate to call us today. We will review your case, explain your rights, and answer your questions.