Hanover Manslaughter Lawyer

Being charged with a criminal offense could be a frightening and overwhelming experience. After an arrest or charge, you may be confused and unsure of how to proceed. Whether you are facing charges of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, you might be wondering what that means and what potential penalties you face.

Fortunately, you do not have to navigate the legal system alone. A Hanover manslaughter lawyer could explain the specific charges against you and answer your legal questions about pursuing a defense. A dedicated defense attorney could work to protect your rights and fight to protect your freedom.

The Difference Between Voluntary and Involuntary Manslaughter

Under Virginia law, the criminal offense of manslaughter is broadly categorized as a crime against another person. More specifically, manslaughter involves the killing of another person without premeditation, whereas the crime of murder is associated with premeditation. Beyond this, state law distinguishes between two types of manslaughter — voluntary and involuntary.

An act of involuntary manslaughter entails a person unintentionally causing the death of another individual, possibly due to carelessness, negligence, or recklessness, but importantly, without premeditation. For example, a driver operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other substances who causes an accident that results in the death of another person could potentially be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Voluntary manslaughter, on the other hand, occurs when a person intentionally causes the death of another individual, but without premeditation. This might happen if a person in a violent fight attempts to seriously harm another person but accidentally causes their death. In these cases, there must not have been any time for the alleged assailant to calm down prior to causing the other individual’s death. If so, this could constitute premeditation and thus could be elevated to murder. Due to the nuances of Virginia law, a Hanover manslaughter lawyer could help to explain the potential charges a defendant faces and how they might proceed with any available defense.

Potential Penalties for a Conviction in Hanover

Despite their differences, both voluntary and involuntary manslaughter are categorized as Class 5 felonies, the penalties for which are detailed in section 18.2-10 of the Code of Virginia. Class 5 felony convictions or guilty pleas are punishable by a prison term between one and ten years, as well as a fine of up to $2,500. In the event that a charge of manslaughter is elevated to aggravated manslaughter, either voluntary or involuntary, the maximum term of imprisonment could be extended to up to 20 years.

However, the court or the jury trying the case might impose a lesser period of confinement of not more than 12 months in jail, along with a fine of up to $2,500. The likelihood of an individual convicted of manslaughter receiving this lesser sentence might depend heavily on the circumstances surrounding the specifics of the alleged offense, such as whether it was involuntary or voluntary. A seasoned manslaughter attorney in Hanover could answer questions regarding the possible penalties for convictions of either any form of a manslaughter charge.

Civil Lawsuits and Wrongful Death

In addition to facing voluntary or involuntary manslaughter criminal charges, it is also possible that a defendant may be sued in civil court by the family of the alleged victim. Such cases often involve allegations of wrongful death and might result in monetary penalties if a person is found to be liable.

Speak with a Hanover Manslaughter Attorney Today

If you are facing criminal charges, you might be worried about how you should proceed. No matter the circumstances surrounding your allegations, however, you have the right to consult a Hanover manslaughter lawyer.

A defense attorney familiar with Virginia law could assist you with your case every step of the way and be a valuable advocate for your rights. For more information about how a legal professional might help, call today.