In Georgia, there are two types of Manslaughter: Voluntary Manslaughter and Involuntary Manslaughter.
- Voluntary Manslaughter- Occurs when a person takes the life of another human being after being provoked by an action that would create a sudden and violent passion or response in a reasonable person.
- Lovers’ quarrels and other situations where there are deep emotional ties involved are known as “crimes of passion.” Keep in mind that there is no excuse for taking the life of another without legal justification (i.e. self defense); however, the State has recognized that extreme human emotion has a tendency to cloud even a reasonable person’s judgment, so it has adjusted the crime and punishment to better suit the surrounding facts. Here, you would find that these situations often give way to a voluntary manslaughter charge.
- Involuntary manslaughter- Occurs when a person unintentionally takes the life of another human being, which was the result of his or her negligent action.
- People make mistakes. Sometimes, they do irresponsible things, or create a situation where things get out of hand or beyond their control. In any case, these people never intended to end the life of anther. Situations such as these can give rise to a charge of involuntary manslaughter.
The Statutory Punishment
Punishment for Voluntary Manslaughter is a minimum of one year in prison, with a maximum sentence of up to 20 years.
Punishment for Involuntary Manslaughter, at minimum may be classified as a misdemeanor, and may call for less than one year in prison; the maximum sentence is 10 years.
Manslaughter is a serious offense. It is the lesser charge of murder, and may cost a defendant years of his or her life. In the past, the State has blurred the lines of which type of manslaughter is appropriate. Too often, this results in defendants being charged with the crime that carries the more severe punishment.
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