Manslaughter is a legal term for the killing of a human being in a manner considered less culpable than murder. The culpability is based on the mens rea (state of mind). Where murder requires either the intent to kill or malice aforethought, manslaughter usually involves an unintentional killing but with a willful disregard for life.
Manslaughter in Ohio is broken down into two categories: voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. Vehicular manslaughter is distinguished under separate statute.
Voluntary manslaughter is the lesser offense of murder usually having the mitigating factor of provocation. Ohio law defines Voluntary Manslaughter as:
(A) No person, while under the influence of sudden passion or in a sudden fit of rage, either of which is brought on by serious provocation occasioned by the victim that is reasonably sufficient to incite the person into using deadly force, shall knowingly cause the death of another or the unlawful termination of another's pregnancy.
(B) Whoever violates this section is guilty of voluntary manslaughter, a felony of the first degree.
Mary goes home to find her husband in bed with another woman. She immediately goes into an angry rage and hits her husband over the head with a wine bottle. He dies a few hours later from the head injury.
Involuntary manslaughter is distinguished from voluntary manslaughter by the absence of intention. Ohio law defines Involuntary Manslaughter as:
(A) No person shall cause the death of another or the unlawful termination of another's pregnancy as a proximate result of the offender's committing or attempting to commit a felony.
(B) No person shall cause the death of another or the unlawful termination of another's pregnancy as a proximate result of the offender's committing or attempting to commit a misdemeanor of any degree, a regulatory offense, or a minor misdemeanor other than a violation of any section contained in Title XLV of the Revised Code that is a minor misdemeanor and other than a violation of an ordinance of a municipal corporation that, regardless of the penalty set by ordinance for the violation, is substantially equivalent to any section contained in Title XLV of the Revised Code that is a minor misdemeanor.
(C) Whoever violates this section is guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Violation of division (A) of this section is a felony of the first degree. Violation of division (B) of this section is a felony of the third degree.
John breaks into Linda's home to steal something. Linda is four months pregnant. Linda wakes up when she hears a noise. She gets up to see what's happening and is assaulted by John. Linda's injuries prove fatal to the baby.
If you are facing manslaughter charges in Ohio, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney with expertise in defending both voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.
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