If you find yourself facing charges of committing voluntary manslaughter, this means that law enforcement officers and the prosecutor have probable cause to believe that you deliberately killed someone because of a provocation. As FindLaw explains, the prosecutor need not prove that you premeditated the killing or had a “depraved mind” when you did it.
Rather, the prosecutor must prove the following:
- That a sudden or unexpected event provoked you
- That you consequently felt such anger or heat of passion that you formed the immediate intent to kill the person or commit a violent act against him or her
- That your act resulted in the person’s death
Under most circumstances, voluntary manslaughter represents a second-degree felony. If convicted, you face a minimum mandatory prison sentence of 9-1/4 years. Your prison term, however, could be as long as 15 years. The judge could also assess a fine of up to $10,000 against you.
Under the following circumstances, voluntary manslaughter represents a first-degree felony:
- Killing of a child fewer than 18 years of age
- Killing of an elderly person or of a disabled adult
- Killing of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician or paramedic during the performance of his or her duties
- Killing with the use of a weapon
- Killing with the use of a firearm
If convicted of one of these forms of voluntary manslaughter, you face a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10-1/3 years, with a maximum of 30 years. The possible maximum fine of $10,000 remains the same as that assessed in second-degree felony convictions.