Not every murder homicide committed in Nevada was out of malice. Sometimes, it was purely accidental or caused by the heat of the moment. There exists another type of homicide in Nevada that perfectly fits the description: manslaughter. Manslaughter can also be divided into involuntary and voluntary manslaughter. Las Vegas Attorney Ross Goodman discusses the definition and the punishments of manslaughter that you need to know in case you encounter it in the future.
Manslaughter legal definition in Nevada
As written in the Nevada Revised Statutes or NRS section 200.040, manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a person without malice. This is one of the worst violent crimes in Nevada as it ends the life of a person even if the killing was not intended. Now, as we have mentioned before, there are two types of manslaughter: involuntary and voluntary manslaughter. Take note that vehicular manslaughter exists outside the categories of manslaughter in Nevada and should also not be interchanged with vehicular homicide which is the result of the driver’s intoxication.
Difference of involuntary and voluntary manslaughter
Involuntary manslaughter occurs when the perpetrator of the murder homicide has no intention or have no expectations for the death to take place but the certain act was clear to have deadly consequences. A prime example is a person pushing another person playfully while they are on a cliff that resulted to the victim falling and dying.
Voluntary manslaughter, on the other hand, is a type of murder homicide brought by intense feelings or what the Nevada law defines as “heat of passion”. This occurs when the person’s emotion—particularly, anger—clouds his or her judgment, preventing him or her to think clearly before doing the deed. One common example is a husband beating the lover of her wife to death after catching them in the middle of the adulterous act. The husband clearly has no malice while carrying out the killing as he acted in a sudden raging impulse caused by provocation.
Manslaughter punishment and defenses
As manslaughter is still a murder homicide, it entails some weighty punishments. Anyone found guilty of voluntary manslaughter must face a category B felony charge in Nevada. This means a maximum prison term of 10 years and a fine of $10,000. An involuntary manslaughter has lesser penalties courtesy of a category D felony such as one to four years of imprisonment and a fine of $5,000 that may or may not be imposed by the court.
Of course, these penalties can be avoided if the defendant can manage to successfully overturn the prosecution’s accusations. One of the defenses that can be used to achieve this is self-defense or stating that the victim tried to kill you first or provoked you in a way that warrants a violent response. The culpability of the defendant to the crime is also one powerful, though underrated, kind of defense that could be used to battle manslaughter. Simply providing proof that you did not kill a person because you did not do anything or you were not in the place at the time can mean acquittal if the persecution could not rebut it.
If there are no defenses that could work at your disposal, you can go for a plea bargain where you will concede to the charges but will be treated to only milder penalties. The criminal records caused by either of the manslaughter types can be sealed 10 years after serving the intended criminal sentence.
Killing a person especially if it was not of deliberate intention will take a heavy emotional toll to the defendant. To not let this happen in your life, enlist the aid of a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney who knows the inner workings of Nevada law and who can come up with defenses that will safeguard your freedom.