As we’ve discussed in previous articles, there are different homicide charges with varying degrees of severity and punishments. Manslaughter is a lessor crime than murder, and it also has varying degrees of severity, i.e., voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.
Related: Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer Discusses Homicides – What is the Difference Between Manslaughter and Murder Charges?
Manslaughter is a homicide that is committed when the defendant is acting under a sudden and intense passion or under serious provocation. It is not an intentional killing, i.e., the killing was not planned or premeditated.
Voluntary manslaughter, the more serious of the 2 types of manslaughter, is a killing of another person that is committed when the defendant is acting under sudden serious provocation. It is a first degree felony. An example of voluntary manslaughter in Philadelphia would be the following argument between 2 neighbors over a parking spot.
Before leaving for work after a winter storm, Neighbor A puts chairs in the parking spot in front of his home. This way, he would have a spot to park as parking spots are limited due to piled up snow. Neighbor B gets home before Neighbor A. He cannot find any parking spots. He moves Neighbor A’s chairs aside, and parks in the spot. Neighbor A comes home and sees that his saved spot is taken. He goes to confront Neighbor B and demands Neighbor B to move his car. Neighbor B refuses, and the 2 begin to argue. They start to push and punch each other, and Neighbor A pulls out a gun and shoots Neighbor B.
Involuntary manslaughter is the killing of another that resulted from an unlawful act or lawful act that was committed in a reckless or grossly negligent manner. It is a misdemeanor of the first degree. Consider the following example. An individual is driving 55 mph in a 25 mph zone, in a residential area of Philadelphia. This is an unlawful act, speeding 30 miles over the limit in a residential area. As he approaches an intersection, he does not see the stop sign and drives right through the intersection, which is another unlawful act. As a result, he hits a pedestrian crossing the street. The pedestrian later dies in the hospital due to his serious internal injuries. The driver in this case would be charged with involuntary manslaughter because he was reckless to speed excessively in a residential area. As a result of his reckless act, a pedestrian was killed.
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If you are facing manslaughter charges and related homicide charges, contact David Nenner, an experienced Philadelphia, PA criminal homicide defense lawyer. Call 215.564.0644 to schedule a consultation.