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PC 192: Manslaughter


Manslaughter is a serious offense in California, with significant legal consequences. Whether charged as the primary offense or as a “lesser included offense” along with murder charges, a manslaughter conviction can lead to years behind bars and the loss of important civil rights such as possessing a firearm or voting. See below for an overview of manslaughter in California, including how the offense is defined, elements of the crime that must be proven to convict, potential penalties, and possible defenses that may be available. If you’ve been charged with manslaughter or other serious criminal offenses in San Bernardino, reach out to attorney John D. Lueck to speak with a knowledgeable and dedicated Rancho Cucamonga criminal defense lawyer.

Definition of Manslaughter under California Penal Code 192

In California, manslaughter is defined in section 192 of the Penal Code as the unlawful killing of a human being without malice. It is categorized into three types: voluntary, involuntary, and vehicular manslaughter. Each type has specific characteristics:

  1. Voluntary Manslaughter (Penal Code 192(a)): This occurs when a killing happens during a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion.

  2. Involuntary Manslaughter (Penal Code 192(b)): This is the unintentional killing of another person, usually as a result of reckless or negligent behavior, but not during the commission of an unlawful act.

  3. Vehicular Manslaughter (Penal Code 192(c)): This involves the unintentional killing of another person while driving a vehicle, either in a lawful or unlawful manner.

Elements of the Crime of Manslaughter

To secure a conviction of manslaughter in California, the county prosecution must prove certain elements of the charged offense beyond a reasonable doubt. These elements vary based on the type of manslaughter charged:

  • Voluntary Manslaughter: The defendant must have acted during a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion and without premeditation.

  • Involuntary Manslaughter: It must be shown that the defendant acted with criminal negligence or during the commission of an unlawful act that is not a felony.

  • Vehicular Manslaughter: Proof is required that the defendant was driving and committed either an unlawful act (not amounting to a felony) or a lawful act that might cause death, in a manner dangerous to human life.

A shrewd criminal defense attorney will be prepared to challenge the prosecution’s case at every turn, raise reasonable objections to the evidence presented, and establish for the jury how reasonable doubt exists to one or more critical elements of the state’s case.

Penalties if Convicted of Manslaughter in California

The penalties for manslaughter convictions in California are severe and vary depending on the category of offense:

  • Voluntary Manslaughter: Punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for three, six, or 11 years.

  • Involuntary Manslaughter: Carries a sentence of two, three, or four years in state prison.

  • Vehicular Manslaughter: The sentence depends on the circumstances, including potential jail time, fines, and suspension of driving privileges.

Possible Defenses to Manslaughter Charges

A competent criminal defense attorney can employ several strategies to defend against manslaughter charges. Common defenses include:

  • Self-Defense: Arguing that the act was committed in self-defense or defense of others.

  • Accident: Claiming the incident was accidental and not due to criminal negligence.

  • Insufficient Evidence: Highlighting the lack of substantial evidence to prove the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • Wrongful Accusation: Contesting the identity of the defendant or the circumstances of the incident.

Attorney John Lueck practices exclusively in the field of criminal defense in Rancho Cucamonga and San Bernardino County and has decades of experience and success defending people charged with manslaughter, murder, and other serious felonies and violent crimes. His assistance can play a pivotal role in defending people accused of homicide, including manslaughter. Mr. Lueck’s approach includes:

  1. Case Analysis: A meticulous review of case details, evidence, and witness testimonies.

  2. Strategy Development: Crafting a defense strategy tailored to the specifics of the case.

  3. Negotiation Skills: Engaging in plea negotiations to potentially reduce charges.

  4. Courtroom Advocacy: Aggressively defending clients in court, aiming for acquittal or lesser sentences.

  5. Legal Guidance: Providing comprehensive legal advice and support throughout the process.

Contact the Law Office of Attorney John Lueck for Defense Against Manslaughter Charges in San Bernardino County

Manslaughter charges are grave matters requiring skilled and professional legal representation. Attorney John Lueck, with a deep understanding of California Penal Code 192 and a commitment to defending the rights of the accused, is prepared to offer the necessary legal support. If you or a loved one is facing manslaughter charges, contact us for a consultation to discuss your legal options and how we can help in pursuing the best possible outcome. You can call our Rancho Cucamonga office at 909-484-1963, but for immediate assistance call attorney John Lueck directly on his cell phone at 909-646-2736.

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