If you kill someone in the heat of the moment, without planning it or intending to do it, it is different from committing murder, in the law’s eyes. Also called “homicide,” this kind of murder is called “voluntary manslaughter.”
In Pittsburgh, as in all of Pennsylvania, people charged with voluntary manslaughter are faced with severe punishments, which include lengthy prison sentences. If you find yourself in this situation, you will need an experienced Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer, one who will be at your side every step of this stressful journey, and one who will provide an effective and compelling defense.
Facts About Voluntary Manslaughter
Voluntary manslaughter is defined as killing someone while you are in the grip of sudden and intense emotions that result from significant provocation by:
- The person killed.
- Someone else you tried to kill, but then accidentally or through negligence killed someone else.
In the case of voluntary manslaughter, self-defense is not involved. You were irrationally angry and not able to think clearly because of your strong emotions, be they terror, anger, or something else.
It is also possible to commit voluntary manslaughter if you purposefully believe you were justified in committing it, and if you were in the same situation again, you would kill once more and feel justified in doing it, but your opinion is not reasonable.
The crime of voluntary manslaughter is a first-degree felony. A conviction can come with a prison sentence of up to 20 years, so contacting a manslaughter defense attorney in Pittsburgh is an important step to take.
What do I do if I am Charged?
The first and possibly most important thing is to not make the cop who arrests you angry, if you can help it. More than likely, you will spend the night in jail. Do not say anything to the police officers or detectives. Don’t even try to proclaim your innocence.
- Do not talk to anyone without your lawyer sitting beside you. Everything you say can be twisted and used against you in court.
If you are asked any questions by law enforcement personnel, let them know that you want a lawyer. Politely decline the opportunity to answer their questions.
What Can My Attorney do?
The Pittsburgh manslaughter defense attorney that you hire will go over every part of your case with you. He or she will decide if there is evidence to match every charge against you.
- Your lawyer will do the best he or she can to argue any piece of evidence that does not favor your case.
- The things your attorney can do for you is dependent upon the facts of the case.
- If you were defending yourself, your attorney would try to find witnesses and evidence to prove that you were.
Your Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney will talk with you first, asking you to give him all the details that you recall, no matter how large or small. He will review the evidence against you, including police testimony and any physical or medical evidence. Then, he will list for you the options you have for your defense and assist you in choosing which option to use.
Your attorney will examine every option open to you to find the best way to help you. It cannot be stressed enough how important it is that you tell him or her everything. Don’t hold any information back.