Norfolk, VA Manslaughter Criminal Defense Lawyers
Our law firm can defend your rights
Manslaughter charges in Virginia can have serious consequences. If you have been charged with manslaughter in connection with someone else’s death in Norfolk, Newport News, or another location in Hampton Roads, Virginia, you need to take action right away. Otherwise, you might waste valuable time that could be used investigating your criminal charges.
Our Norfolk, Virginia criminal defense attorneys at Welch & Wright, PLLC know what’s at stake. That’s why we want to help. Our legal team can thoroughly investigate your manslaughter case, including making sure that your rights were respected during your arrest. And if you need to go to court, our trial lawyers have extensive courtroom experience, especially in many courts in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. You can count on us when your freedom is on the line.
What is manslaughter?
Manslaughter is a legal term used to describe the death of someone unintentionally caused by someone else. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, manslaughter specifically means that a person’s death was caused by another person unlawfully and without malice, which simply means the person who caused someone’s death did not have any ill will or desire to end their life.
For example, vehicular homicide (in which someone dies in a car accident caused by another driver) is a common example of manslaughter. It’s also a serious criminal traffic violation frequently handled by our law firm.
Criminal charges covering manslaughter in Virginia
In general, there are two types of manslaughter charges in Virginia – voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.
Voluntary manslaughter means the person intended to hurt another person in the heat of the moment. As a result, voluntary manslaughter is sometimes referred to as a “crime of passion.” Virginia Code 18.2-35 explains how voluntary manslaughter is punished in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Involuntary manslaughter means that someone caused someone else’s death without intending to do so. Many laws in Virginia apply to involuntary manslaughter, including:
- Virginia Code 18.2-36, which explains the penalties for involuntary manslaughter.
- Virginia Code 18.2-36.1, which outlines what actions constitute involuntary manslaughter.
- Virginia Code 18.2-36.2, which specifically applies to involuntary manslaughter caused by someone operating a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Penalties for Virginia manslaughter conviction
In most cases, the Commonwealth of Virginia classifies manslaughter as a Class 5 Felony. If convicted of such offenses, the penalties often include:
- 1 to 10 years in prison and/or
- A fine of up to $2,500.
Whether or not a judge decides to impose the maximum penalty depends on many different factors, including whether the person convicted of manslaughter intended to hurt someone else, whether they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs and whether they have any prior criminal convictions.
Legal defenses for manslaughter?
Common legal defenses for individuals charged with manslaughter in Virginia include your criminal defense attorney proving:
- You were acting in self-defense.
- The other person’s death was purely accidental.
- You were intoxicated at the time and were not thinking clearly.
- Insufficient evidence to convict you of manslaughter.
Get the Norfolk law firm that gets results. Contact us
Don’t assume there’s nothing you can do if you have been charged with manslaughter in Virginia. Make sure you fully understand your rights and legal options. Contact our Norfolk law firm and schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced Norfolk, Virginia criminal defense lawyers. We can answer your questions and get right to work developing a strong legal strategy.