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Facing criminal charges is never an easy experience, but it can be incredibly difficult when you are faced with charges of a violent crime. While manslaughter differs from murder under Virginia law, you may still experience harsh penalties because your actions caused the death of another individual. At this emotionally trying time, you need legal counsel you can rely on to protect your rights and ensure you aren’t punished more than you deserve.

A manslaughter attorney is an essential part of fighting manslaughter charges in Virginia. Your attorney can help you interact appropriately with police officers, including knowing when to invoke your right to remain silent. Please remember that you don’t have to answer any questions and that you have a right to speak with an attorney. A criminal defense lawyer can also conduct an investigation to uncover evidence that proves you don’t deserve the maximum sentencing and will work with you to construct a strong defense against your manslaughter charges.

Please reach out to our highly skilled team of attorneys immediately to get the help you need during these complex legal proceedings. We promise to stand by your side and offer excellent advice and representation based on our decades of legal practice, including years spent as a judge and prosecutor. You can reach us at 540-386-1277 to schedule a free initial consultation and learn more about how we can help.

How is Manslaughter Defined Under Virginia Law?

Manslaughter results in the death of another person but is the result of an accident or from acting in the heat of the moment. Manslaughter differs from murder because it does not involve deliberate killing.

Voluntary Manslaughter

Voluntary manslaughter involves taking an action that resulted in someone’s death while knowing what you were doing. For example, if you entered a home without planning to kill anyone but were provoked to anger and killed someone, you may be found guilty of voluntary manslaughter.

Involuntary Manslaughter

Involuntary manslaughter is tricky to define because you caused the death of another person without intending to do so. One of the critical components of involuntary manslaughter is engaging in an illegal or reckless behavior that caused the other person’s death. Some examples of involuntary manslaughter include losing control of a car in a street race and hitting a pedestrian or firing a gun into the dark and hitting someone, causing their death.

On the other hand, someone dying because of injuries in a football game or boxing match would not be considered manslaughter because the person understood the risks and willingly engaged in the dangerous activity. For help understanding your manslaughter charges and defending yourself, call our law firm immediately.

What Penalties Could I Face for a Manslaughter Conviction?

While manslaughter is not punished as severely as murder, the penalties for a conviction can still be devastating. For example, those found guilty of voluntary manslaughter may be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $2,500. Penalties for involuntary manslaughter are similar, while a judge may offer some leniency in these cases.
When the manslaughter charges involve a DUI, you may face additional penalties, such as having your license suspended. However, you can sometimes get your charges lowered by participating in DUI programs, and you may be able to obtain a hardship license by working with a skilled DUI lawyer.

You should also be aware that some circumstances could result in enhanced charges, such as demonstrating extreme disregard for human life. In these cases, you would be charged with aggravated manslaughter, and you could face up to 20 years in state prison.

What Defenses May Be Effective in Lowering or Dismissing My Manslaughter Charges?

Having skilled legal counsel is crucial when fighting violent crime charges such as manslaughter. A talented Warrenton manslaughter attorney like those at Ashwell & Ashwell can work toward lowering or dropping your charges. Our attorneys can help you navigate the investigation process, coaching you on how to answer police questions and when to use your right to remain silent. We can also work with you to develop a defense that works based on your unique circumstances.
For example, some defenses that may be effective when fighting manslaughter charges in Virginia include:

  • Self-defense or defense of another person – You have a right to defend yourself or someone else who is in harm’s way, and if your actions lead to the death of another individual, you may avoid a manslaughter conviction.
  • Insanity – Individuals with a mental disorder that prevents them from understanding what they are doing or from distinguishing between right and wrong may be excused from manslaughter charges.
  • Mistaken identity – If police officers arrested you instead of the person responsible for the killing, you may avoid conviction.
  • Insufficient evidence – The burden of proof is on the prosecution, and if they fail to provide evidence that links you to the killing, you may successfully avoid conviction.

Should You Hire Our Manslaughter Attorneys?

Choosing a criminal defense law firm can be difficult with the many options available in the Warrenton area. However, you deserve outstanding attorneys who are dedicated to getting favorable results in your case. At Ashwell & Ashwell, we have decades of experience fighting criminal charges on behalf of our clients. We will use that knowledge and expertise at every step of your legal proceedings.

Facing criminal charges can be scary. You need legal counsel to get you through each step of the complex Virginia legal process. We promise to provide the support, advice, and representation you need in order to get the best possible outcome in your proceedings. Call Ashwell & Ashwell today to schedule a complimentary, confidential consultation. Our attorneys are waiting to meet with you and get you the help you need, so call today at 540-386-1277.


Contact Ashwell & Ashwell, PLLC Offices Today!

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    Contact Ashwell & Ashwell, PLLC Offices Today!

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