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The crime of manslaughter is normally categorized into three sections: voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, and involuntary manslaughter. The categories are found under the CA Penal Code. One is considered to have committed voluntary manslaughter when he or she has unlawfully killed another human being, with no malevolence or afterthought. The cases relate, to situations, where the killings may have been intentional, but not permitted yet committed under sudden quarrel and, or in the heat of passion. It may be applicable under CA Penal Code subsection 192(a).

The legal definition of voluntary manslaughter refers to, when a person intentionally kills another person, without a legal excuse for doing so, and acting as a conscious disregard for human life. By doing so, you either violate California’s murder law or voluntary manslaughter law. It is differentiated, by whether you acted with malice aforethought. The Malice aforethought exists when one acts, with intent to kill, or disregard for human life. When you kill a person during an abrupt quarrel or heat of passion, means either you were provoked, under the influence of intent emotions that obscured your reasoning or judgment and rush without deliberation. That provocation must be very influential, to be able to cause an average thinking person in the same actual situation, to be able to react with the same emotions than logics. The reaction to the provocation is only justifiable if it resembles the fictional average person’s reaction.


Elements of Voluntary Manslaughter

Extracted from CALCRIM 570, one is considered guilty of voluntary manslaughter with pursuit to PC 192(a) containing the stated elements:

  • Intentional killing of another human life by the defendant.
  • Provocation of the Defendant
  • A rushed action under emotionally influenced reasoning resulting from provocation.
  • When the provocation may have caused an average person to act rashly without deliberation, i.e., acting out of passion rather than judgment.

Examples of Voluntary Manslaughter

A good illustration of voluntary manslaughter is, for instance, where a person guns down her or his son’s alleged molester. Another example is when one finds the spouse with an opposite sex in their matrimonial bed, he or she can act out of rage and kills either or both of them. This is an unplanned or premeditated killing lacking the “malice afterthought” which is a required support evidence for a murder charge. The man, however, can be convicted of voluntary manslaughter as the killing can be considered intentional. Another example involves someone who after overdrinking alcohol acts out of prejudged assumption and kills another person arising from verbal exchanges.


Other Related Offenses

There are other offenses which are related to voluntary manslaughter under the CA Penal Code. They include:

  • Runovers or vehicle manslaughter while under intoxication
  • Driving Under Influence (DUI) Murder
  • Involuntary Manslaughter


The Defenses to Voluntary Manslaughters

Three defense claims are permitted by the law for justifying the killing of another person; they include self-defense, defense of others and imperfect self-defense. Self-defense is justified when a person protects oneself from being killed, suffers a great bodily injury, or being maimed, raped or robbed. The law will permit you to take any necessary step to protect yourself from harm. When you perform an imperfect self-defense, it is believed that (a) another person was in imminent danger of being killed, (b) the threat was able to defend against the threatened and (c) either of the parties involved was unreasonable. You can be acquitted in the instances of insanity, accidents.


Punishment for Voluntary Manslaughter

The penalties for voluntary manslaughter are found under the Penal Code 193(a). The accused may face a jail term of up to three, six, or 11 years in state prison.

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