While not as serious as being found guilty of murder in the first or second degree, a conviction for manslaughter, especially voluntary or vehicular manslaughter, could still mean a lengthy jail sentence


If you’ve been charged with voluntary, involuntary, or vehicular manslaughter in Orange County, CA, you could be facing serious consequences, including several years in prison if convicted. After you’re released, the conviction will continue to appear on your public record. This could make it difficult to obtain certain jobs, qualify for credit, or obtain child custody or visitation rights.

Now’s the time to take steps to protect your rights. Contact the law office of Jim Tanizaki without delay. Jim is a highly experienced Orange County, CA criminal defense attorney. He has helped clients throughout the Orange County area who have been arrested and charged with manslaughter and other homicide offenses. His effective defense tactics have resulted in reduced and even dismissed charges for many of his clients.

What is the Difference Between Murder and Manslaughter in California?

A lot of people consider manslaughter to be basically the same as murder. It is, except for one major difference. Both are defined as the unlawful killing of a human being. However, murder is committed with malice or premeditation, while manslaughter is committed without malice or premeditation. The differences are important when it comes to sentencing. A conviction for either could result in lengthy jail time, but manslaughter, unlike murder, is not considered to be a capital offense felony in California.

The Three Types of Manslaughter Charges in California

There are three types of manslaughter charges in California:

Voluntary manslaughter

Voluntary manslaughter is committed out of a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion. Basically, you unlawfully killed someone, but not out of malice or premeditation.  In many instances, the killing occurs as a response to an emotionally-charged situation, such as a confrontation over an act of betrayal or infidelity. It’s the reason voluntary manslaughter is sometimes referred to as a “crime of passion.”

In California, voluntary manslaughter is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for up to 11 years.

Involuntary manslaughter

Involuntary manslaughter occurs in situations where a defendant was committing an unlawful act and these actions resulted in the death of another. You killed someone, but not intentionally. Involuntary manslaughter does not apply to deaths caused by DUI.

In California, involuntary manslaughter is punishable by imprisonment of up to four years.

Vehicular manslaughter

Vehicular manslaughter is an unlawful killing that occurs as the result of the unlawful operation of a motor vehicle. Vehicular manslaughter can be committed with or without gross negligence. Gross negligence is the lack of any care or an extreme departure from what a reasonably careful person would do in a similar situation to prevent harm to oneself or to others.

A person can be grossly negligent by either acting or by failing to act. An example of gross negligence is operating a motor vehicle after you’ve consumed several alcoholic drinks. (If it’s determined that the death was intentional, the charges could be bumped up to murder.)

Vehicular manslaughter isn’t limited to automobiles, motorcycles, or big trucks. You can be charged with vehicular manslaughter if you kill someone while operating a jet ski, motorboat, or other types of water vessel in violation of the state’s harbor and navigation codes.

Depending on the circumstances, vehicle manslaughter can be punishable by imprisonment of up to 10 years in prison.

Speak to an Orange County, CA Manslaughter Defense Lawyer

Orange County, CA manslaughter defense lawyer Jim Tanizaki is a former county DA turned criminal defense attorney. He knows the tactics the prosecution will use to secure a conviction and how to create an effective defense strategy.

Being arrested isn’t the same as being convicted. No matter how grim the situation looks, always remember that you’re innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Contact the law office of Orange County, CA manslaughter defense lawyer Jim Tanizaki using our website or call us at (714) 655-7633 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.