Unlike murder charges which generally require a person to have planned the commission of the alleged crime, manslaughter charges often result from alleged incidents that arose due to the emotional circumstances of an event. An Iowa City resident may find oneself facing manslaughter charges if the person is suspected of killing another person in the heat of the moment. If a person's heat of the moment actions were found to be intentional then the person may be charged with voluntary manslaughter.
Any criminal charge that involves the death of another person carries with it very serious consequences. As a result, a person who must confront manslaughter charges may wish to understand and utilize different criminal defenses when it comes to implementing the person's defense strategy at trial. The remainder of this post will discuss several defenses that may be available to a person facing voluntary manslaughter charges, but readers of this criminal defense blog should speak with their own attorneys about the defenses that may be options in their cases.
First, a person may simply be able to show that he did not commit the alleged crime -- innocence is a complete defense to a voluntary manslaughter charge. Second, an individual charged with manslaughter may demonstrate that the person had to take the actions that the person did because otherwise the individual would have been harmed -- self-defense can be used to overcome a voluntary manslaughter charge.
Third, a person may be able to have his charged reduced from voluntary manslaughter to involuntary manslaughter if the person can show that the individual did not intend to kill the deceased individual. An accidental homicide is still punishable through the criminal justice system but is penalized less harshly than one that was committed with intention.
It is important for readers of this Iowa City criminal defense law blog to remember that no two manslaughter cases are the same. The availability of defense in a case will depend on the case's facts, and the defenses discussed in this post do not represent a complete list of all that may be available to a criminal defendant.