Under Michigan law, as is the case in most states, there are a whole host of violent crimes. Though many are familiar with murder, things might become blurry with violent crimes beyond that. However, knowing about lesser violent crime laws is critically important for Michiganders to understand so that they can adequately defend themselves against allegations of wrongdoing.
This week, we will address voluntary manslaughter. This crime occurs when an individual purposely kills another, but, instead of a premeditated act, the killing occurred in the heat of passion or anger. The mental state of the defendant is the key differentiator between murder and voluntary manslaughter. Murder is often thought of as cold-blooded and planned. Involuntary manslaughter, on the other hand, occurs when the defendant has emotional excitement to the point that a reasonable person under the same circumstances would have done the same thing. Therefore, in order for involuntary manslaughter to apply, the defendant cannot have had a time to cool off before the killing. If he or she did, then murder may be the charge he or she faces.
The penalties for a manslaughter criminal conviction are severe and damaging. Upon conviction, an individual may be subjected to a prison sentence of up to 15 years. Additionally, the felony conviction will likely follow him or her around, making it difficult to acquire a job, a place to live, or an education after serving his or her time. Not to mention, a felony conviction may ruin an individual's reputation.
There is a lot on the line when confronted with violent crime accusations. Therefore, it is often in a defendant's best interests to acquire help from a legal professional. When this is done, a defendant can learn more about the law, how it applies to his or her unique situation, and what steps to take to put forth a defense that is right for him or her.
Source: FindLaw, "Michigan Voluntary Manslaughter Law," accessed on April 3, 2015