Homicide occurs when one human being kills another. When committed with premeditation and malice, which is recklessness, depravity and/or intent, a person can face murder charges. If a homicide does not involve any of the above factors, the defendant may face a manslaughter charge.
The Definition of Voluntary Manslaughter
A voluntary manslaughter is homicide caused by provocation or passion. Here, passion is defined as extreme emotion impairing a subject’s judgment. The emotion cited is typically anger, but it does not necessarily have to be.
An Explanation of Provocation Defenses
A provocation defense is a factor used to mitigate homicide charges. Here, the defendant claims that something incited or provoked them to engage in behavior that led to another person’s death. The provocation defense is often used to bring charges down to manslaughter from murder, and it’s commonly referred to as a “heat of the moment” defense.
Mitigating factors are any used to lessen criminal charges or potential punishments. As previously mentioned, they can lower homicide charges from one level to the next. In many cases, these factors can reduce criminal sentences substantially. Consult a criminal defense lawyer in Martinsburg, WV for advice on finding mitigating factors and using them to the defendant’s advantage.
Types of Provocation
Provocation must be sufficient to deprive a similar, reasonable person of their self-control. It’s often used to reduce homicide charges, and it can prove that a defendant did not act with malice and forethought. Reasonable provocation inflames an ordinary individual to become capable of manslaughter, and it must be sufficient to cause fear, rage or passion. Such emotions stop ordinary people from taking the time to reflect on the severity of their actions. A lawyer with may use either provocation type as a defense in homicide cases.
Should a Defendant Call a Lawyer About Using a Provocation Defense?
Homicide cases, especially those that can lead to murder charges, can carry extremely heavy punishments. Therefore, it is wise for defendants to use any and all available defenses.
A defendant should call a criminal defense lawyer in Martinsburg, WV if they are considering using or have questions about provocation defenses.