Murder vs. Manslaughter in Georgia
Manslaughter Charges in GA
What is Manslaughter?
Manslaughter is similar to murder because it is the unlawful killing of another individual. This type of murder charge is applicable when a person did not have an intention to kill another person. The lack of intent and malice causes the charge of to be less than a murder charge. However, it is still a serious crime, intention or not, to take the life of another.
Voluntary and Involuntary
There are two distinct types of manslaughter. Voluntary and Involuntary.
Voluntary Manslaughter O.C.G.A. 16-5-2
Voluntary manslaughter happens when a person is provoked and kills another person. The go to example is if a spouse walks in on his significant other cheating with another person and kills them. The spouse did not intend to come home and kill someone, the current situation emotionally provoked the individual to do something they are not necessarily predisposed to do.
Voluntary Manslaughter Laws in GA
(a) A person commits the offense of voluntary manslaughter when he causes the death of another human being under circumstances which would otherwise be murder and if he acts solely as the result of a sudden, violent, and irresistible passion resulting from serious provocation sufficient to excite such passion in a reasonable person; however, if there should have been an interval between the provocation and the killing sufficient for the voice of reason and humanity to be heard, of which the jury in all cases shall be the judge, the killing shall be attributed to deliberate revenge and be punished as murder.
(b) A person who commits the offense of voluntary manslaughter, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 20 years.
Involuntary Manslaughter O.C.G.A. 16-5-3
Involuntary manslaughter is killing someone because of criminally reckless or negligent behavior. Basically, unintentionally killing someone because of a crime their committing. This is often confused with second degree murder, and is sometimes tried as second degree murder.
Involuntary Manslaughter Laws in GA
(a) A person commits the offense of involuntary manslaughter in the commission of an unlawful act when he causes the death of another human being without any intention to do so by the commission of an unlawful act other than a felony. A person who commits the offense of involuntary manslaughter in the commission of an unlawful act, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than ten years.
(b) A person commits the offense of involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act in an unlawful manner when he causes the death of another human being without any intention to do so, by the commission of a lawful act in an unlawful manner likely to cause death or great bodily harm. A person who commits the offense of involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act in an unlawful manner, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished as for a misdemeanor.
Deciding the Type of Charge
The difference between these two types of homicide boils down to the state-of-mind of the accused. If someone was acting recklessly or under the influence of alcohol while driving and runs over someone that would be considered involuntary. Alternatively, if the person driving had a suspended license or previous instances of reckless behavior the defendant may be charged with second degree murder.
A substantial differentiating factor with a repeat offender is if there is a consistent disregard of human life with any prior criminal convictions.