One mishap can result in manslaughter charges. Your entire life shouldn’t be shattered because of a mistake. Although manslaughter charges indicate that you did not intend to harm anyone, you’ll still be facing a homicide offense that can land you in prison.

If you’ve been accused of manslaughter in Nevada County, call Walsh Law right away. We can help you get your charges reduced or dismissed. Call (530) 499-0645 or use our online contact form to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

What Is Manslaughter in Nevada County?

In California, manslaughter (California Penal Code Section 192(c) PC) is the unlawful killing of another person without malice. It’s different from murder, which requires intent to kill or malice aforethought.

Malice aforethought is a willful, deliberate, or premeditated act. Manslaughter specifically does not require those elements. Murder does.
There are multiple categories of manslaughter, including voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, and vehicular manslaughter. These charges have unique elements that the prosecutor must prove to get a conviction.

What Is Voluntary Manslaughter?

Voluntary manslaughter occurs when someone kills another person during a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion, often triggered by adequate provocation. The key elements here are the suddenness of the action and the intense emotions involved. It is often based on an honest, but unreasonable, belief in the need to defend oneself or others. It’s covered under California Penal Code Section 192(a) PC.

For example, if a husband comes home to his wife cheating on him and immediately kills the other individual in the heat of the moment, then the husband may be guilty of voluntary manslaughter.

What Is Involuntary Manslaughter?

This happens when someone kills another person unintentionally, but due to recklessness or criminal negligence. Examples include leaving a child unattended in a hot car or using a firearm without proper care. It’s covered under California Penal Code Section 192(b) PC.

The key elements here are that the crime was not considered an inherently dangerous felony, and it was a lawful act that might produce death.

What Is Vehicular Manslaughter?

This is a specific type of involuntary manslaughter that results from driving under the influence (DUI) or other unlawful operation of a motor vehicle. It’s covered under California Penal Code Section 192(c) PC.

Specific elements include that the alleged offender was driving the motor vehicle in a negligent or unlawful manner, and they caused the death of another person.

It’s important to know that vehicular manslaughter is a wobbler offense. It can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the level of negligence and other facts of the case.

Penalties for Manslaughter in Nevada County

The penalties for manslaughter in Nevada County vary depending on the specific type of manslaughter committed and the specific circumstances of the case.

Penalties for Voluntary Manslaughter

As the most serious type of manslaughter, voluntary manslaughter can result in the harshest consequences, including a possible prison sentence of three, six, or 11 years in state prison or probation with up to one year in county jail. The alleged offender may also receive a fine of up to $10,000.
The presence of aggravating factors like using a weapon, prior convictions, or gang involvement can increase the sentence. Mitigating factors like lack of prior criminal history or remorse can lead to a lighter sentence.

Penalties for Involuntary Manslaughter

As a felony offense, involuntary manslaughter can result in a possible sentence of two, three, or four years in state prison or probation and a fine of up to $10,000.

Like voluntary manslaughter, aggravating and mitigating factors influence the sentence. Additionally, if a firearm was used, the conviction could be considered a “strike” under California’s Three Strikes Law, potentially leading to harsher penalties.

Penalties for Vehicular Manslaughter

The penalties for this crime depend on whether ordinary or gross negligence was used in the commission of the offense. If you acted with ordinary negligence, you may face a misdemeanor charge and up to one year in jail. If you acted with gross negligence, you could face two, four, or six years in state prison or probation and up to a $10,000 fine.

Similar to involuntary manslaughter, aggravating and mitigating circumstances can affect the penalties, with additional considerations like blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the accident and prior DUI convictions potentially increasing the sentence.

Other Potential Consequences of Manslaughter

In addition to criminal penalties, you may face the following collateral consequences for a manslaughter conviction:

  • Difficulty finding and maintaining jobs
  • Community service
  • Loss of professional license
  • Loss of driver’s license
  • Citizenship and immigration issues
  • Difficulty finding housing
  • Loss of voting and gun rights
  • Problems obtaining financial aid and education

Defenses for Manslaughter in Nevada County

There are many defenses that can be used in a Nevada County manslaughter case. Your manslaughter lawyer will review your case and help you develop the best defense strategy possible.

At Walsh Law, we may use one or more of the following defenses in your case:

Self-Defense or Defense of Others

If you acted in response to actual or perceived threat of harm, then you may be able to use a self-defense argument. In California, you are allowed to use reasonable force to defend yourself and others.

Diminished Capacity

If your mental capacity was impaired to the extent that you could not form the intent to kill, then you may be able to use an argument involving diminished capacity.

Lack of Causation

If you did not actually cause the victim’s death, then the prosecutor cannot establish causation. You must be able to show there was an independent intervening cause of the alleged victim’s death and your actions were not a substantial factor causing the alleged victim’s death.

Nevada County Manslaughter Charge FAQs

What are examples of vehicular manslaughter?

You may get a vehicular manslaughter charge for a fatal DUI accident, but many other actions can result in a fatal motor vehicle crash, including speeding, reckless driving, road rage, texting and driving, and distracted driving.

What should I do if I’m being investigated for manslaughter?

If you are asked to give a statement to detectives, do not speak to them alone. Let your Nevada County manslaughter lawyer handle all questions on your behalf.

How can a lawyer help with my manslaughter charges?

If you are charged with manslaughter, your Nevada County criminal defense attorney can guide you through the legal system. They will handle communication with the authorities and help you get out of jail while you wait for your case to move through the criminal justice system. Your attorney can provide you with solid legal advice about California manslaughter laws and how to develop a strong defense in your case.

Get Help from a Nevada County Manslaughter Attorney

Manslaughter is a serious criminal charge that will affect your entire life. It could cause you to lose your job and tarnish your reputation with friends and family. The Nevada County manslaughter attorneys at Walsh Law know what you’re facing, and we understand how to create defense strategies that win.

Call Nevada County manslaughter lawyer Chris Walsh and his legal team today at (530) 499-0645 or use our online contact form to schedule a free and confidential consultation of your case.

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