CA Penal Code Section 192(a): Voluntary Manslaughter can be used to prosecute individuals who cause the death of another person. Voluntary manslaughter covers intentional acts that do not qualify directly as murder. For this reason, PC 192(a) is often used as a part of a plea bargain in murder cases.
You can broaden your understanding of PC 192(a)’s role in the legal system in California right here. The Simmrin Law Group can cover the differences between voluntary manslaughter and murder as well as the penalties for a voluntary manslaughter conviction.
Voluntary Manslaughter vs. Murder in California
California defines murder as intentionally killing another person with malice aforethought – or prior planning. Voluntary manslaughter, on the other hand, occurs if someone:
- Intentionally Kills Another Person
- Without a Legal Excuse
- Without Malice Aforethought
This means that individuals who carry out a murder without prior planning may be charged with voluntary manslaughter instead of murder. Situations that lead to PC 192(a) charges can include deaths in:
- The Heat of Passion
- Sudden Quarrels
Individuals who kill another person because they mistakenly believe they must defend themselves may also face voluntary manslaughter charges.
Voluntary Manslaughter vs. Involuntary Manslaughter
Voluntary manslaughter charges can apply if someone intentionally kills another person in a fit of passion or without prior planning. You can compare this to California Penal Code Section 192(b): Involuntary Manslaughter.
Individuals may be charged with involuntary manslaughter if they:
- Cause the Accidental Deal of Another Person
- Without Intention or Malice
- With No Conscious Disregard for the Lives of Others
Individuals must still be engaging in a very dangerous lawful activity or an unlawful act to face involuntary manslaughter charges.
Voluntary Manslaughter as Part of a Plea Bargain
As we mentioned, individuals in California may accept voluntary manslaughter charges as part of a plea bargain when they are initially charged with murder. This may represent an individual’s best legal option in some circumstances.
Voluntary manslaughter may lead to the following penalties:
- Prison Time: Up to 11 Years
- Fines: Up to $10,000
- Life in Prison
- The Death Penalty
For this reason, criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles sometimes advise their clients to accept an involuntary manslaughter charge as part of a plea bargain.
Examples of Voluntary Manslaughter in California
Boost your understanding of voluntary manslaughter charges with these examples:
Man A comes home from work to discover that his wife is in bed with another man. In a fit of sudden rage, he goes to the kitchen, gets a knife, and kills the other man. He fully intended to kill the man, but he did not premeditate the killing. He could be charged with voluntary manslaughter.
Man B hates his boss. Everything she does makes him angry. He decides to wait outside their place of business and hit her with his car one night, killing her. He premeditated his actions and would likely face murder charges, instead of voluntary manslaughter.
Defenses for Voluntary Manslaughter Charges in California
Voluntary manslaughter charges are often offered as part of a plea bargain. In these cases, individuals do not need to defend against them. The charges are either accepted or they are not. However, prosecutors do sometimes use PC 192(a) as an initial criminal charge.
In these cases, a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer may be able to build a case for you. Depending on the specific circumstances surrounding your case, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to argue that:
You Were Acting in Self-Defense
Individuals in California are legally allowed to protect themselves or others from great bodily injury or death. Note that self-defense claims only apply if you had reasonable cause to believe that:
- Someone was Going to Hurt or Kill You or Another Person
- You Needed to Use Deadly Force to Stop Them
You Killed Someone by Accident
Accidental deaths are not handled under PC 192(a). If someone died as a result of an accident, you should not be charged with voluntary manslaughter. Generally, you must demonstrate no intent to harm the other party for a death to be considered accidental.
A Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You
A conviction under CA Penal Code Section 192(a): Voluntary Manslaughter can have serious impacts on your life. You may be trying to decide if you should accept PC 192(a) charges as part of a plea bargain. Get a handle on your legal situation by contacting the Simmrin Law Group for a FREE case evaluation.
Speak with professional criminal defense lawyers today by calling (310) 997-4688, or filling out our online contact form.