Manslaughter applies whenever the accused is acting recklessly, negligently or with a wanton disregard for human life. Justifiable homicides people are considered justified in defending themselves or others.
California law also recognizes three types of manslaughter:
- Voluntary manslaughter — Voluntary manslaughter pertains to instances when individuals kill victims spontaneously or in a moment of passion, for instance during a sudden and intense fight.
- Involuntary manslaughter — Voluntary manslaughter applies to situations in which someone kills a victim without malice and without intent to kill, but with a conscious disregard for human life.
- Vehicular manslaughter —Vehicular manslaughter laws apply to drivers who kill people when operating a motor vehicle in an unlawful manner, in the course of the commission of lawful acts that may produce unlawful deaths.
- Justifiable homicide is an important subcategory. It allows a criminal defense attorney to argue that a client’s conduct is excusable self-defense and the person should not be found criminally liable. It applies in situations in which people believed that they were in imminent danger of any of the following:
- being killed
- suffering great bodily injury
- being sexually assaulted, maimed or robbed
- becoming the victim of some other forcible and atrocious crime.