As a criminal defense lawyer in Fullerton, we represent clients that have been charged with manslaughter. While this is a serious charge, remember that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Our job is to make a case for innocence and create enough reasonable doubt that the jury doesn’t issue a conviction. Due to the serious nature, and stiff penalties, associated with manslaughter, we recommend hiring an attorney right away so that there is the proper time to build your defense.
There are several types of manslaughter charges: voluntary, involuntary and vehicular. Voluntary manslaughter is the most serious of these offenses. While still short of a murder charge, a conviction can lead to up to eleven years in jail. With this type of case, half of the battle is to make sure that the prosecutor doesn’t attempt to prove murder, instead. In order for a crime to be considered voluntary manslaughter we must show that the crime happened in the heat of the moment and was not premeditated. For example, if you were in a fight or went into a fit of rage upon finding out someone harmed your family member that would be a crime of passion and therefore manslaughter. If, however, the death was premeditated it could lead to a murder charge.
As a criminal defense lawyer, we work to build a strong case for our clients’ innocence. If we can create enough reasonable doubt, the jury will be unlikely to deliver a manslaughter conviction. If, however, it is clear that some sort of conviction will occur, we will work to get the penalties reduced and prevent the charges from escalating to murder. This is important given how easy it is to turn a manslaughter charge into a more serious crime. For example, in California, a prosecutor can go for a murder charged if there was a sufficient cooling off period from the time that a person became aware of an injustice, like a cheating spouse, to when they killed someone. If sufficient time passed between the two events, it would appear that the murder was premeditated or planned out in advance. We work to protect our clients by proving that this is not the case.
When someone is convicted of voluntary manslaughter there is a standard jail sentence of 3, 6 or 11 years. As a criminal defense lawyer, we will present mitigating factors to try and get the judge to reduce the penalties during sentencing. Judges have the leeway to do so, and as a lawyer we will demonstrate a lack of criminal history and the unlikelihood that a crime would be committed again. For example, a person committing a crime of passion would have no reason to reoffend since it was in response to the action of someone else. A prosecutor, on the other hand, will try and present aggravating factors such as the brutality of the crime in order to have a stiffer penalty issued. This makes it important to work with an experienced lawyer every step of the way.