About Charges of Manslaughter, Voluntary Manslaughter & Involuntary Manslaughter

Manslaughter Charges Criminal Defense Attorney, Morris County, NJ

Homicide vs. Manslaughter

A simple definition of homicide is: “The killing of one human being by another human being.” Murder and manslaughter both involve homicide, however, there are legal distinctions between murder charges, felony murder charges, and charges of manslaughter. There is a further legal distinction between voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, and aggravated manslaughter by eluding.

An Experienced Trial Lawyer, Certified Criminal Defense Trial Attorney

If, and how an individual is charged with a crime when they kill someone else depends on many factors, including the experience and legal skills of the attorneys involved. If you have been charged with manslaughter, it is important to hire a criminal defense attorney that has extensive trial experience in cases involving the death of another person.

Unlike most other attorneys, William D. Ware, Esq., is exclusively committed to the practice of criminal defense in New Jersey. He has successfully handled thousands of criminal cases including complex homicides. Additionally, our firm also offers the rare benefit of a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Criminal Trial Attorney.

The stakes in every criminal case are high. No matter how the evidence seems to stack up, our firm believes there is ALWAYS a defense worth pursuing. Contact our manslaughter trial lawyer today for a free consultation. If you cannot come to us, Mr. Ware will come to you.

Conditions of Voluntary Manslaughter Charges

Voluntary manslaughter is sometimes referred to as a “crime of passion.” You may have intended in the moment to kill someone, or cause bodily harm severe enough to cause death, but the killing was not premeditated or planned.

Voluntary manslaughter is a lesser charge than murder, and the law requires that your attorney prove two things:

There must have been sufficient provocation. A key factor in voluntary manslaughter cases is showing that there was some set of circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to become emotionally or mentally disturbed if they encountered the same or similar situation. For example, you walk in and find your spouse in bed with another person. In the “heat of the moment” a person may respond with extreme aggression without thinking. In most cases, the provocation must involve some physical element. Verbal assaults and exchanges of words alone are generally not seen as a situation intense enough that a reasonable person would respond violently, killing another person.

There was insufficient time to “cool off.” This second condition must also be met in cases of voluntary manslaughter. If you left and came back the next day and then attacked and killed your spouse, you had a reasonable time to cool off and think about your actions.

Conditions of Voluntary Manslaughter – “Imperfect Self Defense”

Some states recognize another type of voluntary manslaughter called, “Imperfect Self Defense.” This is where a person thought they were being threatened and had to defend themselves with deadly force, but their fear was unreasonable. New Jersey does not recognize Imperfect Self Defense.

Conditions of Involuntary Manslaughter Charges

As in the case of voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter is also a lesser crime than first-degree murder. Involuntary manslaughter involves criminal negligence and lacks the “intent” to kill someone. In cases of involuntary manslaughter a persons’ actions were reckless or irresponsible and lead to or caused the death of another person. Involuntary manslaughter also applies to when a person committing a crime (“unlawful act”) that is not a felony crime, or in “the commission of a lawful act involving a risk of injury or death that is done in an unlawful, reckless, or grossly negligent manner.”

Former Prosecutor, Morris County, New Jersey – Board Certified Criminal Trial Attorney

Having been a prosecutor in Essex County, Mr. Ware is knowledgeable of the system and with his experience, it means that he can give you an immediate and accurate answer regarding the penalties you are facing, your best legal defense to the charge, how to respond to the police or the prosecutor’s office and, most importantly, exactly what you need to do next.