Georgia Manslaughter Lawyer
Murder, homicide, and manslaughter are all terms associated with unlawfully causing the death of another person. It can be difficult, however, to differentiate between these crimes, which is why it is particularly important for those who have been accused of one of these offenses, to hire an experienced Georgia manslaughter lawyer who is well-versed in the complexities of these various crimes.
Manslaughter is broken down into two categories: voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. The former occurs when someone intentionally causes the death of another, but acted solely as a result of a sudden, violent, and irresistible passion that was, in turn, caused by a serious provocation.
Essentially, the feature that primarily distinguishes voluntary manslaughter from murder is that the crime be committed without deliberation or malice, but as a result of a sudden provocation. To qualify, this provocation must produce an immediate action, so even when these elements are met, a person can be convicted of murder and not the lesser charge of manslaughter if there was an interval of time between the provocation and the killing of the victim.
A defendant must also be able to prove that the actions leading up to the provocation were such that reasonable person would have been provoked. Generally, words are not enough to qualify as serious provocation in these cases, although words plus threatening movements are often sufficient to satisfy this burden. Although voluntary manslaughter is a less serious charge than murder, a conviction for this offense still comes with severe penalties, including imprisonment for between one and 20 years.
A person can be convicted of involuntary manslaughter if prosecutors can prove that he or she caused the death of another human being without the intention of doing so:
- During the commission of an illegal act other than a felony; or
- During the commission of a lawful act, that, conducted in an unlawful manner is likely to cause death or bodily harm.
Individuals found guilty of the former face up to ten years imprisonment, while those who are convicted of committing involuntary manslaughter while engaging in a lawful act, albeit in an unlawful manner, may only be charged with a misdemeanor.
Defenses to Manslaughter Charges
The types of defenses that a person raises in a manslaughter case will depend largely on whether the charge is voluntary or involuntary manslaughter. However, in either case, a defendant could potentially avoid conviction by:
- Attacking the validity of the prosecutor’s evidence;
- Providing evidence of an alibi;
- Demonstrating that he or she was acting in self-defense;
- Proving that he or she was the victim of involuntary intoxication; or
- Providing proof of a wrongful arrest or mis-identification.
For help determining whether any of these defenses could be used in your own case, please call our office today.
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Although manslaughter charges are less serious than murder charges, they should be taken seriously, as those who are convicted face up to 20 years imprisonment. Fortunately, there are a number of defenses that defendants can raise to help prove their innocence, so if you were recently accused of manslaughter, please call 770-209-2310 to schedule a free case review with one of our dedicated Georgia manslaughter lawyers today. You can also set up a meeting with a member of the Hawkins Spizman legal team by completing one of our brief online contact forms.