Manslaughter is a lesser charge of murder. It holds stiff penalties but not quite as strict as murder. Manslaughter is the act of killing another human being without premeditation (planning to do it). There are two kinds of manslaughter that you could be charged with. One is voluntary manslaughter and the other is involuntary manslaughter.
Here is the difference between the two:
Voluntary manslaughter can be charged in cases where heat of passion can be used. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you found the person you love with another person. It could mean many things. In order to prove voluntary manslaughter, the person who killed the other person cannot have planned to kill someone. The death occurred when someone became angry, fearful, raged or terrorized in order to prove voluntary manslaughter. You have to be provoked in such a way that you would lose control over yourself temporarily because of the emotion that the provocation caused.
If someone were to make you fear for your life or threatened you in such a way that you lost control over your actions and you killed them, it might be considered voluntary manslaughter. You knew that your actions could cause the death, but you were so overcome with emotion that you didn’t really think about it.
Involuntary manslaughter is used in cases such as drinking and driving. There was no intent to harm anyone but through carelessness or misuse, either legal or illegal, you took someone’s life. You can be charged with involuntary manslaughter for any number of reasons, drinking and driving is one of the most significant uses of this charge though.
If you drove someplace with the intention of only drinking one beer and end up so drunk you can’t stand up, you are breaking the law the minute you get behind the wheel of the car. If you then get into a car accident and someone dies as a result of it, you can and often will, be charged with involuntary manslaughter. Everyone knows that you didn’t mean to kill anyone. They also know that you knew the law against drinking and driving. Therefore, you were committing a crime when you drove drunk. You can now be charged with involuntary manslaughter because you were careless in what you did and misused your vehicle.
The difference in the two types of manslaughter can make a huge difference in your penalties. Voluntary manslaughter means that you knew what you were about to do would likely end someone’s life. You did it anyway, no matter what the reason. Involuntary manslaughter is more negligence in the way you handled yourself knowing that something bad could happen. Either way, a charge of either of these crimes will stain your record for the rest of your life.