In the state of Nevada, the unlawful killing of another human being is considered to be a homicide. Unlawfully killing another person is illegal unless there is justification, such as self-defense. However, there are different types of crimes with which you could be charged for taking the life of another person. Murder is the most serious crime and requires malice aforethought or requires that the death has occurred while you were engaged in specific types of unlawful conduct. Manslaughter, on the other hand, is less serious than murder but a conviction could still lead to harsh penalties.
A defendant who does not act with malice in the killing of another person could be charged with either voluntary manslaughter or with involuntary manslaughter. It is important to understand the differences, to know which charges you are facing, to understand what a prosecutor must prove to convict you and to determine how you should best respond to charges. A Vegas defense attorney can help.
LV Criminal Defense can provide you with guidance on how to fight manslaughter charges so you can reduce the likelihood of a conviction. Our skilled and experienced legal team has provided representation to defendants accused of manslaughter and we can put our strong legal background to work to help you get the best outcome possible given the facts of your case. Call today to talk with Vegas defense lawyers at our firm to find out how we can help.
Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.
Under Nevada law, voluntary manslaughter is defined in Nevada Revised Statute section 200.050.
In order for a crime to be considered voluntary manslaughter, as opposed to murder, there must have been a “serious and highly provoking” injury that was inflicted upon the defendant who killed. The serious and highly provoking injury must have been serious enough that a reasonable person would have become excited by the provocation such that reacting with violence is a likely outcome.
The relevant statute also makes clear that an attempt by the victim to commit a serious personal injury against the defendant accused of the killing could also result in the defendant being accused of voluntary manslaughter.
An example of such provocation might involve a person coming home from work early to find his spouse engaged in an affair. If that husband reacted with anger and stabbed his wife’s paramour with a kitchen knife that was lying on the counter at the time, this could be an example of a situation where the husband is charged with voluntary manslaughter instead of being charged with murder.
To be charged with voluntary manslaughter requires this type of provocation because if there was no behavior that motivated the killing to occur, the absence of an immediate act triggering the killing could be viewed as evidence of implied malice. When there is evidence of implied malice, or when there is evidence of express malice, a prosecutor will charge a defendant with murder instead of manslaughter.
Voluntary manslaughter is also a separate offense from involuntary manslaughter and the penalties for voluntary manslaughter are generally harsher. Voluntary manslaughter requires that the killing be intentional as a result of the provocation, while involuntary manslaughter can occur in circumstances where the defendant was engaged in conduct without due care and caused the loss of life.
Defending against manslaughter charges is complicated, as you need to carefully evaluate the evidence against you in order to determine what your best approach is to try to minimize or avoid penalties. Because the consequences of a conviction are life-changing, it is important to get the right legal help.
If you need a Vegas defense lawyer who you can count on to aggressively advocate for you, and an attorney with the experience necessary to put together the best strategic approach to responding to charges, you should call LV Criminal Defense for help. Give us a call today to find out how our compassionate and knowledgeable legal team can help you.