Violent crimes are sometimes planned, but this isn’t always the case. Just about everyone has heard about homicides that occurred in the heat of passion. This isn’t just something that was made up in Hollywood. It is an actual point that is considered when a person is accused of voluntary manslaughter.

This charge isn’t as serious as murder, but it must still be taken seriously since it can still lead to time in prison and other criminal penalties. With this in mind, you should make sure that you understand some basic points about this charge if you are facing it. The knowledge might help you plan your defense.

Unlike involuntary manslaughter, there is an element of emotional response that led to the killing with voluntary manslaughter. The key here is that if another reasonable person was placed in the same situation, that individual would have also been led to react in the same way by strong emotions. There isn’t any planning involved in voluntary manslaughter.

One thing that you have to know about voluntary manslaughter is that it has to happen in the heat of the moment. You can’t see something infuriating, such as someone desecrating a religious monument, leave and come back to shoot someone. Leaving and coming back shows premeditation.

An example that is commonly used is that a wife comes home to find her husband in bed with another woman. She gets into an altercation with the other woman. The injuries that the mistress suffered ultimately lead to death. This would likely be a voluntary manslaughter charge since the wife didn’t plan to kill the person her husband was involved with.

Source: FindLaw, “Voluntary Manslaughter Overview,” accessed May 18, 2018