Voluntary Manslaughter vs. Murder in Massachusetts
The criminal justice system recognizes more than one form of murder, separating them into two different categories: manslaughter and murder. Manslaughter can be either voluntary or involuntary, though both charges are treated less egregiously than murder. Here is how the law distinguishes the two:
Voluntary manslaughter is defined in one of two ways:
- While in the heat of an argument, or while under duress, a defendant was provoked and killed someone.
- Someone was killed during mutual combat.
In determining whether or not a death qualifies as murder or manslaughter, the court considers many factors, including provocation, anger, premeditation, and timing. This last element is the most critical. If the murder occurred in the heat of passion, the defendant might be charged with manslaughter instead of murder. If a person got angry during an argument, left, and returned with a weapon to kill that individual, he or she would likely be charged with murder instead of manslaughter. The difference between the two examples is that, in the second one, the individual had time to consider his or her actions.
Murder is generally defined as the premeditated and intentional killing of another individual. Like manslaughter, there is a lesser charge for those who do not commit the act with premeditation. Second degree murder is a death that occurs as part of a felony crime, such as rape or robbery, and is otherwise known as felony murder.
Northampton Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a violent crime, such as murder or manslaughter, you are already keenly aware of how serious this matter is. The consequences of a conviction can alter a person’s life forever, leading to extensive imprisonment, parole or probation, mandatory counseling or anger management, and a permanent criminal record. You do not have to face this alone.
At The Law Offices of Jesse Adams, Jesse Adams is dedicated to fighting for the rights and freedom of his clients. Do not leave your future up to chance.
Call us today at (413) 931-3828 to schedule a free consultation.