Guide to Manslaughter Charges & Penalties

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Reducing manslaughter charges in Los Angeles. Speak to a top rated manslaughter attorney today.

Los Angeles Manslaughter Defense Attorneys

Many defendants who are arrested on charges of murder frequently have those charges reduced to manslaughter. 5% Experienced Los Angeles manslaughter defense attorneys recognize this. They get prosecutors to reduce the murder charges to manslaughter. It makes a big difference; defendants can be sentenced to 25 years to life if convicted of first-degree murder. Conversely, a conviction for manslaughter can mean as little as two years in prison.

Voluntary Manslaughter Cases

The difference between murder and manslaughter is that the malice aforethought element in a murder case is missing in a manslaughter case.

California Penal Code §192(a) defines voluntary manslaughter as the unlawful killing of the victim in the “heat of passion” or because of a quarrel.

Additionally, voluntary manslaughter can be charged when the defendant kills the victim because of the honest but mistaken belief that he was acting in self-defense.

We should note that if the defendant was in a heated argument or passionate moment and calmed downed, and then killed the victim, the police might charge him with murder rather than manslaughter. That, of course, would depend on the particular facts of a case. Experienced Los Angeles manslaughter defense attorneys would examine those facts closely for the benefit of their clients.

What are the Defenses to Charges of Voluntary Manslaughter? Experienced Los Angeles manslaughter defense lawyers frequently raise recognized defenses to manslaughter charges. Self-defense

In order to raise a successful self-defense claim, the defendant has to show that he was in danger of being killed or getting seriously injured by the victim. Alternatively, if the defendant was going to become the victim of a serious crime, such as rape, robbery, etc., the defendant may use deadly force against his attacker.


The defendant may argue in his defense that an accident killed the victim. The defendant would have to prove that he had no criminal intent to harm or kill the victim. He would also have to prove that he was not acting negligently during the incident.

Lastly, he must show that, at the time of the accident, he was otherwise engaged in legal behavior.


If the defendant’s mental state was such that he did not know he was committing a crime, he may assert an insanity defense.

What Are the Penalties for Voluntary Manslaughter?

If convicted of voluntary manslaughter, a judge can sentence the defendant up to 11 years in state prison. She can also fine the defendant up to $10,000.

A conviction for voluntary manslaughter is also a “strike” under California’s three strike law (Penal Code §667 PC).

Los Angeles Manslaughter Defense Attorneys Also Handle Involuntary Manslaughter Cases

Penal Code §192(b) PC defines involuntary manslaughter. A person commits an involuntary manslaughter when she unlawfully kills a person while also committing a felony that is not inherently dangerous (If the underlying felony was inherently dangerous, the police would charge her with felony murder under Penal Code §187 PC).

Involuntary manslaughter may also occur if the defendant commits a misdemeanor or a lawful act in an unlawful way. They can also charge a person with involuntary manslaughter, also called negligent homicide, if the victim is killed while the defendant is engaged in an act that is lawful that carries the risk of death. This is known as criminal negligence.

In order to be criminally negligent, the defendant has to act recklessly that could lead to death or serious bodily injury.

Additionally, the prosecution would have to prove that a reasonable person would have recognized the danger in acting that way.

This type of involuntary manslaughter occurs when a person who has a legal obligation towards the victim violates that obligation. This theory of involuntary manslaughter would apply to a situation involving a parent or guardian of a child. Another example could be a nurse/home health aide taking care of an elderly person.

For example, a parent has a legal duty to care for a child under the parent’s custody. If the parent breaches that duty in a criminally negligent way, and that breach causes the child’s death, they could charge the parent with involuntary manslaughter.

In this situation, the judge determines if there was a legal duty, not the jury.

What are the Penalties for Involuntary Manslaughter?

A judge can sentence a defendant convicted of involuntary manslaughter up to four years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine. If the defendant killed the victim with a firearm or other deadly weapon, the conviction becomes a “strike” under California’s there strike law.


As in voluntary manslaughter cases, the defenses of self-defense, accidental death and legal insanity are available if the facts support them.

Los Angeles Manslaughter Defense Attorneys Lawyers

Persons facing charges of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter need knowledgeable Los Angeles manslaughter defense attorneys. Daniel Perlman and Matthew Cohen are experienced Los Angeles criminal lawyers at Perlman & Cohen. They have represented numerous clients in voluntary and involuntary manslaughter cases in courts throughout Los Angeles courts.

If the police have charged if you or a loved one with voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, Perlman & Cohen will stand by you as they prepare your defense to the voluntary or involuntary manslaughter charges. In appropriate cases, they will negotiate a plea to lesser charges. Otherwise, they will prepare the case for trial and make prosecutors prove their case beyond reasonable doubt. Call them at (310) 299-0062 to set up a free consultation.

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