The difference between murder and manslaughter revolves around intent. There are two forms of manslaughter, voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter is a crime that occurs because of unexpected rage. For example, a man comes home and finds his wife with another man. He would be charged with voluntary manslaughter if he shoots and kills him. Involuntary manslaughter is a death that happens due to someone’s negligence. Imagine, a trucker who realizes he is going the wrong way. Next, he stops and turns his truck around in the highway. He neglects to use hazard lights because it is late and there is no traffic. Suddenly, a car crests the hill and drives directly into the truck. The driver dies and the trucker is charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Anyone charged with manslaughter should look for criminal attorneys. It is not unusual for the police to charge someone with first-degree murder. An attorney will have to prove an alternative theory of the crime. And, the theory must show that there was no intent to murder. Fortunately, the sentence for manslaughter is not as severe as that for murder. Judges look for aggravating and mitigating circumstances to help decide the sentence. Aggravating factors are things that make the crime worse. Such things include brutality of the crime and the accused’s criminal record. Alternatively, mitigating circumstances are facts favorable to the defendant. In the case of the truck driver, a good driving record would be beneficial. Further, the accused should show remorse and accept responsibility.
Manslaughter charges are handled differently in many states. For instance, Texas authorities do not divide manslaughter into two categories. Further, manslaughter is a second-degree felony in Texas. Sentencing guidelines call for two-to-twenty years in prison and may include a fine of up to $20,000. All the prosecution has to prove to find someone guilty is that they recklessly caused the death of another. Additionally, vehicular homicide and intoxication manslaughter are handled separately. Finally, manslaughter defenses include “heat of the moment,” and self-defense. Manslaughter is a very serious crime. If you are accused of this crime, hire the best attorney money can buy.