Manslaughter, on a basic level, is a murder that was committed without malicious intent. The courts argue that because manslaughter does not require intent, it is more moral. Therefore, the sentencing is lower than murder.
Unlike some states, North Carolina has three different types of manslaughter. People often get the three confused, but they are all different. Depending on the circumstances, the level of the felony and the length of the sentence can fluctuate. So, what are the different manslaughter charges?
- Voluntary Manslaughter: Although manslaughter crimes are committed without malicious intent, Voluntary Manslaughter occurs when intent is inferred because of the circumstances. At times, the accused is forced into a situation where they would become mentally disturbed if they didn’t commit the act. Other times, the person charged acted out of self-defense, thinking it was the only option, but it was not. Voluntary Manslaughter is a “Class D” felony. This carries a minimum sentence of 51 months in prison.
- Involuntary Manslaughter: Involuntary Manslaughter occurs when someone is killed unintentionally. This can happen because of reckless acts or when a non-felony crime was committed during the killing. Involuntary Manslaughter is a “Class F” felony and served with a minimum of 13 months.
- Vehicular manslaughter: This occurs when someone is killed due to reckless driving. This could be anything from racing to driving under the influence. Vehicular manslaughter is the only one of the three that can be a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor charge could result in 150 days in jail with a fine. A felony charge is a “Class F” with the same sentencing as involuntary manslaughter.
Manslaughter is a serious crime that results in someone’s death. Although it is considered a lesser crime than murder, someone convicted of manslaughter could spend significant time in prison.