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Voluntary vs Involuntary Manslaughter in Colorado

Posted on March 21, 2024 in

Voluntary vs involuntary manslaughter in Colorado are serious criminal charges that carry jail time, fines, and other consequences. Understanding the difference between them, under the state’s laws, can help you to create a legal strategy to support your best possible outcome. Because of the complications inherent with these types of cases, it is critical to work very closely with a Lakewood criminal defense lawyer from the Law Offices of James L. Finegan, P.C., who can help you prove you do not deserve the consequences you are facing.

What Is Voluntary Manslaughter?

Under Colorado law, there is no specific, separate crime called voluntary manslaughter. While there are no laws that determine what the difference is in these situations, the way a judge interprets these incidents and how that impacts sentencing can play a role in what the outcome is.

The term voluntary manslaughter implies that a person was killed intentionally. This is often associated with the provocation of the individual. In some situations, it may occur as a direct result of a “heat of the moment” reaction. Because this is an intentional act, it can be said that voluntary manslaughter typically carries a higher risk of penalties and more severe consequences. Examples of voluntary manslaughter may include:

  • A crime of passion
  • Domestic disputes
  • Assaults
  • Fights in a bar or in public

What Is Involuntary Manslaughter?

By contrast, involuntary manslaughter occurs when the incident results in the unintentional killing of another person. This may occur, for example, due to negligence. It may also occur when a person engages in reckless behavior. In most situations, the clarity here is that a person did not set out to harm another person but did so due to other reasons.

Involuntary manslaughter is still a serious charge and one that comes with numerous risks and consequences. The clear defining factor here is that the party had no intention of killing the other person but did so inadvertently or accidentally. Some examples here may include:

  • A gun going off unexpectedly
  • A person falls to their death due to unsafe areas
  • A car accident leads to the death of another person
  • A person gives medication to a person that leads to their death accidentally

There are many situations where voluntary manslaughter can be difficult to pinpoint, especially in areas of “heat of passion” types of incidents. These situations may seem to be involuntary, especially if a fight leads to the outcome. The killing is not necessarily premeditated by the defendant, but they still engaged in the action that led to the person’s death.

What to Do If You Are Accused of Any Type of Manslaughter

If you are charged with manslaughter of any type, it is critical to have an attorney available to you to discuss your case. There may be opportunities to get your charges reduced, especially if you can prove that voluntary manslaughter was actually involuntary.

A criminal defense attorney will use evidence from the incident and other data to help prove what occurred and to work to reduce any implications it has on your future.