Voluntary manslaughter is a type of homicide done "in the heat of the moment" with no deliberation. It is less serious than murder. But it still carries hefty prison sentences and fines. Our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys explain the law below:
The legal definition of "voluntary manslaughter" in Nevada
The legal definition of voluntary manslaughter in Las Vegas, Nevada, applies when there is "a serious and highly provoking injury inflicted upon the person killing, sufficient to excite an irresistible passion in a reasonable person, or an attempt by the person killed to commit a serious personal injury on the person killing."
Therefore the crime of voluntary manslaughter in Nevada comprises homicides done in a sudden, heated, violent impulse of passion and when a person mentally "snaps." The classic example of this is walking in on your spouse in bed with someone else, and immediately fatally wounding the other person. (NRS 200.060)
A vital distinction between Nevada murder law and voluntary manslaughter is that the latter cannot have any premeditation or deliberation. So for a killing to be manslaughter, it must occur as soon as the suspect is provoked . . . Even if a second or two passes between the provocation and the killing, a Las Vegas jury may decide that the suspect sufficiently "cooled off" during that interval and had sufficient mental ability to premeditate murder.
Voluntary manslaughter is also very different from the Nevada crime of involuntary manslaughter, which refers to cases of negligent homicide. Involuntary manslaughter is also punished less harshly.
Nevada manslaughter law vs. Federal manslaughter Law
The federal definition of voluntary manslaughter is nearly identical to Nevada's. But a federal conviction of voluntary manslaughter carries up to 15 years in prison, which is five years more than the maximum penalty in Nevada law. Learn more about federal manslaughter law in Nevada at our page on federal manslaughter law in Nevada.
Penalties (NRS 200.080)
The standard punishment for voluntary manslaughter, a category B felony in Nevada, is:
- one to ten years in Nevada State Prison, and
- maybe up to a $10,000 fine
If a criminal defense attorney cannot persuade prosecutors in a Las Vegas murder case to dismiss the charges, they still may be able to agree to a plea bargain where the murder charge is reduced to the lesser crime of manslaughter.
Charged with manslaughter? Then call us . . .
Michael Becker, Esq., has over twenty years of experience in defending his clients against homicide allegations, and he has even won full dismissals in two first-degree murder cases. If you have been accused of voluntary manslaughter (NRS 200.050) in Nevada, phone our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a free consultation.
For information about California Voluntary Manslaughter law, go to our page on California Voluntary Manslaughter law.