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What is voluntary manslaughter, and is there a good defense?

Facing charges of any kind is daunting, but it's especially intimidating when you face charges for murder or manslaughter. Voluntary manslaughter is one charge you could face. It is the intentional killing of another person with no prior intention to kill.

How could you intentionally kill someone but not intend to?

The key phrase here is that you had no prior intention to kill the person. You had no plan to kill him or her and did not consider doing so before the incident occurred.

Here is an example: If you are out with your friends and see that someone is harassing your friend, you may get involved and try to get him away from her. If he continues to persist and attacks you, you may fight back. Out of fear for your life and the lives of others, you pull your gun and shoot him. In that scenario, you intended to kill the person, but you did not go out that day with the plan to do so.

In this case, a claim for self-defense would be a good defense position to take, especially if you can show that your life or the lives of others were at risk.

How does federal law define voluntary manslaughter?

Federal laws state that voluntary manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human in the heat of passion or during a sudden fight. If a homicide is accidental, you may be able to have the charge lowered to involuntary manslaughter.

Your attorney can help you defend yourself when you face charges for a violent crime. No two cases are equal, and you deserve a fair trial.

Source: FindLaw, "Voluntary Manslaughter Defenses," accessed June 26, 2017

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