What is Voluntary Manslaughter?
You can read PA’s Voluntary Manslaughter law here: Title 18 Pa.C.S.A. Crimes and Offenses § 2503. It states that:
General rule.–A person who kills an individual without lawful justification commits voluntary manslaughter if at the time of the killing he is acting under a sudden and intense passion resulting from serious provocation by:
- the individual killed; or
- another whom the actor endeavors to kill, but he negligently or accidentally causes the death of the individual killed.
Unreasonable belief killing justifiable.–A person who intentionally or knowingly kills an individual commits voluntary manslaughter if at the time of the killing he believes the circumstances to be such that, if they existed, would justify the killing under Chapter 5 of this title (relating to general principles of justification), but his belief is unreasonable.
The law makes for two rules for voluntary manslaughter. In the first, the killer was seriously provoked and acted in the heat of passion. This is different from murder because of the emotional context of what took place. You have to be so overcome with emotion that you “lost your mind.”
The second scenario is when a person believes he is justified in killing someone (because of self-defense), but that belief is objectively unreasonable. In this scenario, there is room for interpretation of whether or not the person was under a severe and imminent threat that led to this killing.
Voluntary Manslaughter is a homicide. Even if you did not intend to kill someone, you will be labeled by society as a killer.
Free Guide to Self-Defense in PA
What are the Penalties for Voluntary Manslaughter?
- Voluntary Manslaughter
- Felony of the 1st Degree
- Maximum Penalty:
- 20 years in prison
How a Voluntary Manslaughter can Affect Your Life?
Just because the other person provoked it, does not mean the court will let you off easy. Someone died and the government will be looking to hold you responsible for that death.
Voluntary Manslaughter is a very serious offense and you could be facing up to 20 years in prison. Furthermore, if you are convicted you will also have a homicide on your criminal record. With background check apps and websites, people will be able to see your homide and label you as a killer.
Now ask yourself:
- What employer wants to hire a killer?
- Who wants to date a killer?
- Who wants to live near a killer?
People with “just” a voluntary manslaughter on their criminal history face challenges. They may not gain steady meaningful employment even for minimum wage jobs. If you have a professional license, that will most certainly be revoked.
On top of all that, the family of the victim may take civil action against you and sue you for everything you have.
What are some Possible Defenses against a Voluntary Manslaughter Charge?
One of the worst things is, police charge Voluntary Manslaughter even when they haven’t committed a crime! The killing may be justified and in complete self-defense. The police often don’t investigate the facts. They frequently just slap charges on people.
Proving that the officers were wrong takes a lot of investigating. It requires deep knowledge of the laws and procedures involved. When the stakes are this high, do not make the mistake of trusting your case to a cheap or free lawyer. Chances are, that attorney will not be able to spend the time need to prepare a strong defense and will mess things up beyond repair.
Don’t let a manslaughter conviction rob you of your freedom for years to come. Call The McShane Firm now at 7176573900 for your free case consultation. Our experienced attorneys will help you plan out a course of action to fight these charges.
According to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts in 2017, there were 25,878 offenses committed against a person. These are mostly assault and related offenses.
The Most Dangerous
When measured by the number of assault offenses per 1,000 people, the counties that
had the most offenses were:
Counties with the Highest Rate of Assault Offenses
Different Types of
|Type of Offense||PA Statute||Description||Penalty Range|
|Simple Assault||18 § 2701||Attempting to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another.||
|Aggravated Assault||18 § 2702||Attempting to cause serious bodily injury to another. There are many other aggravating factors such as assaulting a law enforcement officer, school teacher or employee.||
|Involuntary Manslaughter||18 § 2504||A person is guilty of involuntary manslaughter when as a direct result of the doing of an unlawful act in a reckless or grossly negligent manner, or the doing of a lawful act in a reckless or grossly negligent manner, he causes the death of another person.||
|Voluntary Manslaughter||18 § 2503||A person who kills an individual without lawful justification commits voluntary manslaughter if at the time of the killing he is acting under a sudden and intense passion resulting from serious provocation.||
|Murder||18 § 2502||A criminal homicide constitutes murder of the first degree when it is committed by an intentional killing.||
An Assault Conviction can Shatter your Life
Beyond the penalties in court, an assault conviction can ruin your life in many ways.
- 1 An assault conviction will stay on your criminal record forever. Future employers, friends, even someone you ask out to dinner can easily use common apps to see your assault conviction.
- 2 Depending on the nature and severity of the crime, you can lose your professional license. This affects people from many professions such as doctors, lawyers, massage therapists and even barbers.
- 3 Many companies have policies not to hire someone who has been convicted of a violent crime.
- 4 If your conviction is a sexual offense, you may have to register as a sex offender which may make it difficult to find a place to live.
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