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Violent Crimes: Voluntary Manslaughter

Voluntary Manslaughter is one of the most serious Violent Crimes that a criminal defendant can be charged with. Voluntary Manslaughter is graded as a felony of the first degree and therefore punishable by 20 years in state prison. Manslaughter  Since it is one of the most serious violent crimes in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, an accused should strongly consider hiring an experienced violent crimes attorney if he is charged with Voluntary Manslaughter.

Voluntary Manslaughter is one of the types of Murder that an accused can be charged with in Pennsylvania. The other charges are first degree murder, second degree murder, third degree murder and involuntary homicide. First degree murder requires that the government prove that the defendant intentionally killed another. Second degree murder requires that the homicide occurred during the course of another enumerated felony. Third degree murder requires that the accused committed the murder with malice. Finally, an accused is guilty of involuntary manslaughter if while the accused is doing a lawful act in a reckless or grossly negligent manner, he causes the death of another person.

Voluntary manslaughter can be found in section 2503 Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code. In order for an accused to be found guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter, the government must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt. First, the government must prove that the accused killed an individual without lawful justification. read about self-defense  Lawful justification means that the killing occurred as a result of the defendant possibly defending himself or another person against the alleged victim. Second, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that at the time of the killing the defendant was acting under a sudden and intense passion which resulted from serious provocation by the person that was killed. For this reason, Voluntary Manslaughter is frequently known as the heat of passion crime.

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