Voluntary Manslaughter Laws in Pennsylvania

The Top 10 Things NOT To Do If You're Arrested

What is Voluntary Manslaughter?

The statute for Voluntary Manslaughter is Title 18 Pa.C.S.A. Crimes and Offenses § 2503. It states that:

  1. 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:
    1. the individual killed;  or
    2. another whom the actor endeavors to kill, but he negligently or accidentally causes the death of the individual killed.
  2. 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 statute cites 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.

The second scenario is when a person believes he has justification for killing but that belief is unreasonable. In this scenario, there is room for interpretation of whether or not the person was under a severe threat that led to this action.

Voluntary Manslaughter is a homicide. Even if you did not intend to kill someone, you will be labeled by society as a killer.

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 you were provoked, 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:

Who 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 have faced challenges getting hired, even for minimum wage jobs. If you have a professional license, that will most certainly be disqualified. With a homicide, you cannot even drive for Uber or Lyft.

On top of all that, the family of the victim may take civil action against you and make you liable for damages.

What are some Possible Defenses against a Voluntary Manslaughter Charge?

One of the worst things is, many people are charged with Voluntary Manslaughter even when they haven’t committed a crime! The police often don’t investigate the facts and just slap charges on people.

Proving that the officers were wrong takes a lot of investigating and 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. At The McShane Firm we are The Science Attorneys. We are highly trained in forensic science and know how to challenge the evidence collected by the government. This is a key reason why we are different from other law firms.

The McShane has experience in homicide cases and even helped to free a man who was wrongfully convicted of murder after serving almost 36 years.