Los Angeles Manslaughter Defense Attorneys
A charge as serious as manslaughter can destroy your life. When people hear you were charged with such a severe crime, they won’t hear that you haven’t been convicted yet, or even that you are innocent. They will only hear that you allegedly killed someone. Your relationships, reputation, and even your job could be stripped of you before your trial even begins. You shouldn’t give up hope, however.
We at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP have worked with hundreds of clients that have faced similar circumstances, and we have stood by them all in order to get them the best possible outcome. If you have been charged with manslaughter, then you need a skilled and expert defense from a Los Angeles violent crime defense lawyer. Our attorneys can provide you with just that. Call our firm at (213) 688-0460 to speak with a seasoned law team. Get the advice and help you need.
You have likely heard of manslaughter already and assume that it is merely the step down from murder, but truthfully the charge has a great deal of nuance. Under California law, there are three main kinds of manslaughter that you could be charged with, each with their own penalties and definitions.
Involuntary manslaughter: As the name implies, this charge means that you did not intend to kill the alleged victim. There was no malice in your actions, as it was a complete accident. However, there was still serious negligence or recklessness in your actions that led to the accidental death. For example, if someone grabbed you from behind, and you instinctively shoved them away, causing them to hit their head and die as a result, you would likely be charged with involuntary manslaughter. In that moment, you believed that you were defending yourself, and the death was completely unintended and accidental.
Voluntary manslaughter: On the other hand, if you are charged with voluntary manslaughter, then the prosecution alleges that you either intentionally killed another person or you acted with conscious disregard for human life. What separates voluntary manslaughter from a murder charge is whether you acted with “malice aforethought.” This means that you intended to kill someone or that you planned to kill someone. If you kill a person while enraged but had not planned on killing them to begin with, then you would not be acting with malice aforethought and would likely be charged with voluntary manslaughter, not murder.
Vehicular manslaughter: If you are charged with vehicular manslaughter, it means you allegedly killed someone with your car. This may have happened if you were driving at night or during poor weather and accidentally struck a pedestrian, killing them. It is important to note that a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge is contingent on you not having been driving under the influence at the time of the accident. Otherwise, the charges are much harsher.
Just as there are different kinds of manslaughter, there are also different kinds of penalties for a manslaughter charge. While vehicular and involuntary manslaughter are considered lesser charges than voluntary, it is important to remember that both crimes are taken incredibly seriously by the courts, as all three mean that someone has lost their life.
If you are charged with involuntary manslaughter, you will likely be facing:
- Between 2 to 4 years in jail or prison
- A fine of up to $10,000
If you are charged with voluntary manslaughter, then your penalties may include:
- Between 15 years to life in prison
- A fine of up to $10,000
Vehicular manslaughter is a wobbler, meaning it could be a felony or misdemeanor. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you may have to serve:
- Up to 1 year in county jail
- A fine of up to $1,000
On the other hand, if you are charged with felony vehicular manslaughter, you may face:
- Between 2 to 6 years in prison
- A fine of up to $10,000
Both involuntary and voluntary manslaughter charges are considered felonies. This means that if you are convicted, even if you serve out your time and pay your fines, you will still face several repercussions for your actions. In America, felons lose certain rights that you may have taken for granted your entire life. Those can include:
- Owning a firearm
- International travel
- Employment within the government
On top of that, parental rights are often stripped from those charged with felony crimes. The courts have a vested interest in making sure that your children are properly cared for. While you know that you would do anything for them, the courts will assume that your conviction is proof that you cannot properly parent, especially if you are placed in jail or prison for an extended period of time. Beating manslaughter charges could mean the difference between being a part of your child’s life and not seeing them again until they are an adult.
When it comes time for your trial, you will need an excellent defense to beat your charges. Finding that defense, however, is no easy task. It requires an expert understanding of California laws, an investigation into the circumstances around the alleged crime, and the know-how to poke holes in the prosecution’s case. In order to get the best defense possible, you need to work with a skilled criminal defense attorney.
At Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP, our attorneys have long helped people fight against unfair charges, and we are willing to do the same for you. In our experience, the most common defenses for manslaughter charges are:
- You are not the killer, and your identity was mistaken
- You were acting in self-defense or feared for your life
- The crime was a complete accident, and you never intended to kill anyone
- You were unlawfully arrested
- The evidence against you was unlawfully seized and thus cannot be used in court
If you want the best possible legal defense, you need to speak with an experienced attorney. While you are legally allowed a public defender, they are often over-worked, leaving them unable to give you the time you really need. An attorney from Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP may be your best bet at lessening your charges or beating them altogether.
Facing a charge as serious as manslaughter, whether it is vehicular, involuntary, or voluntary, is a terrifying prospect. You don’t know if you will be convicted or acquitted. You don’t know whether your sentence will just be a year or for the rest of your life. You don’t even know when you’ll be able to see your family again. That is why you need Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP. You shouldn’t have to worry about all that on top of try to build a good defense. Let us do the heavy lifting for you. Call us at (213) 688-0460 to schedule a free consultation.
Recent Case Results
- Complete Dismissal of Molestation Charges
Attorney Mark Werksman’s 29 year old client was falsely accused of molesting two neighborhood children and was subsequently charged with felony child molestation, with a significant prison sentence hanging over his head should he be convicted. Instead, at the preliminary hearing Werksman was able to convince the court to grant his client a complete dismissal of any charges.
- Decision Set Aside
Client, a college student in a faulty Title IX case, was awarded $130,000 in attorney fees.
- Probation with No Jail Time for Drug Money Laundering Charge
Wilmington man accused in New York federal court of laundering drug money through the sale of laptop computers. Mark was able to get the case transferred to federal court in Los Angeles, where he convinced the United States Attorney to reduce the charges. His client was sentenced to probation with no jail time on a misdemeanor conviction.