What are the Different Types of Manslaughter Charges?

When one person takes another’s life, legally, the incident is not always considered a homicide. Homicides occur when one party intentionally engages in a malevolent action against another party with the intent that it will result in the loss of life. Homicide is one of the most serious types of crimes with some of the strictest punishments. Manslaughter can be another charge that is associated with taking a person’s life. Being charged with manslaughter can also have hefty repercussions when a conviction takes place.

If you got caught up in a situation in which you took someone’s life, connecting with an attorney is critical. You have rights even when you are arrested and charged with a crime, and those rights deserve to be protected. Because of the severe penalties that can come with manslaughter charges in California, like years behind bars and thousands of dollars in fines, having dedicated and experienced legal counsel representing your interests is incredibly important to the outcome of your case. 

Types of Manslaughter 

Manslaughter is defined as taking another’s life without malicious intent. If you were charged with manslaughter, it is likely you sustained a specific type of manslaughter charge. This is because manslaughter is not a one-size-fits-all charge. There are actually three different categories of manslaughter with which you may be charged. The details of how your incident took place will be the key to determining which category in which your charges fall.

The following are three different types of manslaughter charges.


The actions that you took against another person were direct and intentional and those actions killed the other person but you did not have malicious intent on doing so. So, if you were violent and aggressive to someone else, but you did not mean to end their life, you may be able to avoid homicide charges in favor of voluntary manslaughter. 

An example of voluntary manslaughter would be having a heated fight with your friend. The situation elevates and you get into a physical exchange, resulting in the death of your friend. At the time, you were being violent because you were “in the heat of the moment.” In this case, you were voluntarily behaving in a way that was harmful to your friend, but you lacked the malice to kill them.


When a person acts in a negligent and careless way and that results in the death of another person, involuntary manslaughter charges may be appropriate. In other words, your actions were not responsible, but you had no intent that what you were doing would cause anyone else harm let alone death. 

An example of involuntary manslaughter would include making a football team practice with too few water breaks under weather conditions that are blazingly hot. Or, handling and playing with a live gun and accidentally firing it.


If you caused a vehicular accident and others that you crashed into died, you may be charged with vehicular manslaughter. Examples of the leading causes of fatal car accidents are speeding, distracted driving, or drinking and driving.

Speak With a Violent Crime Defense Attorney in San Diego Today

It may be difficult enough to know that you killed someone when that was not what you ever wanted to do. Nevertheless, the law will see the loss of life as a punishable act regardless of your emotions.

The San Diego violent crime defense attorney at the Law Offices of David M. Boertje can meet with you and discuss your situation. To get proficient criminal defense services in San Diego, please call the Law Offices of David M. Boertje today at (619) 229-1870 for the San Diego office or (760) 476-0901 for the Carlsbad location.

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