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What Is Voluntary Manslaughter?

Whenever someone’s actions result in the death of another, you can almost be assured there will be criminal charges, if authorities determine the fatality resulted from negligence or ill intent. This may be true even if there was no intent for anyone to be harmed, but the activities involved recklessness or a lack of common sense that could have been avoided. The charges become even more serious if intentional violence was involved. You and other Tennessee residents who are facing manslaughter charges need to understand what this kind of charge entails.

According to FindLaw, a manslaughter charge can occur after a fatality that was not premeditated. It is known as voluntary manslaughter if someone was killed out of anger or the “heat of passion,” when there had been no intent to kill in the first place. To help you understand better, the following examples illustrate scenarios that could result in involuntary manslaughter charges:

  • A driver loses his temper after being cut off and runs the other driver off the road, causing a fatal accident.
  • A man walks in on his wife cheating on him, and he hits the other man over the head with a chair, killing him.
  • A drunken argument escalates between friends, resulting in a sudden, fatal stabbing.

A voluntary manslaughter charge is more serious than an involuntary manslaughter charge, but it is usually not quite as serious as a charge for first or second-degree murder. Even so, any criminal charge should necessitate sound legal counsel. This information, therefore, is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer.