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Will I Go To Jail If I Am Convicted Of Manslaughter?

Manslaughter is defined as homicide without the intent to kill. For this reason, it is less serious than a murder charge, which will always lead to jail time if a conviction is made. However, there are different degrees of manslaughter, and while some always lead to jail time, others have a chance to enable you to avoid jail time. As always, it depends on the circumstances.

Generally speaking, most manslaughter cases lead to at least some jail time. Contact a homicide attorney for specifics related to your case.

Types Of Manslaughter

There are two main categories of manslaughter: voluntary and involuntary. In addition, there are several sub-categories under each of these categories. These include:

  • Voluntary Manslaughter
    • Provocation - The most common type of voluntary manslaughter occurs after provocation, which causes the defendant to lose control and commit the homicide. You intended to do harm, but you didn't intend to kill. In the heat of the moment, you lost control of yourself. Common provocations include sexual infidelity and physical or verbal assault. This often leads to jail time.
    • Intoxication - If you are intoxicated or otherwise afflicted when you commit homicide, but there is no evidence of any intent to kill and you show remorse or regret, you may be convicted of manslaughter rather than murder. This also leads to jail time, but if you agree to a rehab program and other lifestyle changes, you may receive less time.
    • Imperfect Self-Defense - If you commit homicide under the mistaken belief that you need to defend yourself, you will likely get a very harsh sentence.
  • Involuntary Manslaughter
    • Constructive Manslaughter - If you are in the process of committing a non-violent crime and accidentally kill someone, you may be convicted of constructive manslaughter. A common instance is drinking and driving. You are in violation of DUI laws, and even though you don't intend to kill someone, you do so. Another one is theft. You only intend to steal money, but in the ensuing struggle, you accidentally kill someone. This is less serious than voluntary manslaughter, which is paired with violent crimes like assault, but it often leads to jail time.
    • Negligent Manslaughter - For negligent manslaughter, it is more difficult to attach direct causal links to your actions and someone's death. If someone dies just because you aren't paying attention for a few moments, the punishment will be considerably less. For instance, if an intoxicated pedestrian runs out in front of your vehicle, you strike him and he dies, you may be convicted of negligent vehicular manslaughter. However, you may not receive jail time.

Contact a criminal defense lawyer for more information about manslaughter jail time and conviction related to your situation.