California Manslaughter Laws – Penal Code 192 PC
California manslaughter is charged under Penal Code 192 PC making it a crime to unlawfully kill another person if aggravating circumstances are present. Manslaughter differs from murder in that the aggravating factors ordinarily associated with murder are mitigated. Manslaughter could be individually charged or be a lesser offense jurors may consider when deciding upon the appropriate verdict. There are numerous defenses to manslaughter including accident or misfortune, self-defense, or acting as a reasonable prudent person under the circumstances.
Types of California Manslaughter – Penal Code 192 PC
Voluntary manslaughter is charged under Penal Code 192(a) PC that would normally qualify for murder but is mitigated either by voluntary intoxication, imperfect self-defense, or was the product of a sudden quarrel. Voluntary manslaughter is ordinarily not charged individually but is rather an option for the jury to consider during their deliberation in a murder trial.
Intoxication is relevant because it supports negating the specific intent element for first-degree murder. Additionally, imperfect self-defense occurs when someone unreasonably believes in fear for their safety or of another in and intentionally kills someone on that basis. Furthermore, a homicide occurring under the “heat of passion” mitigates murder because a defendant was reasonably provoked and harbored a less calculated mindset to kill.
PC 192(a) is punishable in the state prison for up to 11 years unless additionally aggravating factors are present – e.g., gang allegation, prior strike conviction, or a firearm was used during its commission.
Involuntary manslaughter is governed under Penal Code 192(b) PC making it a crime to unlawfully kill another person while acting with gross or ordinarily negligence. Involuntary manslaughter is a wobbler allowing the prosecution wide discretion to charge someone with either a felony or misdemeanor. To prove someone is guilty if involuntary manslaughter, then prosecutor must prove:
- You committed an act that posed a high degree risk of great bodily harm or death or committed a lawful act but acted with criminal negligence;
- Your act caused the death of another person.
Involuntary manslaughter is punishable in the county jail for up to one (1) year or in the state prison for up to four (4) years. Because the killing is unintentionally, a defendant may present mitigating evidence in support of receiving a lesser sentence. Common defenses to PC 192(b) include that the killing was the product of an accident or misfortune; the killing was not the produce of any negligence; or perhaps there were intervening circumstances that ultimately caused the death of the alleged victim.
Vehicular manslaughter is charged under Penal Code 192(c) PC making it unlawful to kill another person with a motor vehicle while acting with gross or ordinarily negligence. Vehicular manslaughter is a wobbler permitting the prosecution with discretion to charge you with either a felony or misdemeanor. PC 192(c) is punishable in the state prison for up to six (6) years or in the county jail for up to one (1) year. Vehicular manslaughter is not an intentional killing but the product of gross or ordinary negligence. Common examples include drinking and driving, striking someone in the crosswalk while you were speeding, or even not paying attention to the road while you’re talking on your cellular phone. To prove guilt, the prosecutor must prove:
- You drove or operated a motor vehicle;
- You committed an act that might cause the death of another;
- You acted with gross or ordinarily negligence;
- Your negligence caused the death of another person.
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If you’ve been arrested or charged with manslaughter under Penal Code 192 pc, then you need to contact an experienced attorney at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers for a free confidential consultation. Our office provides premier representation for all of our clients standing accused of homicide crimes. Early intervention by an experienced and reputable Orange County criminal defense attorney can make the different of serving a sentence in state prison versus having the case rejected altogether.
 Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice. It is of three kinds:
(a) Voluntary—upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion.
(b) Involuntary—in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony; or in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, or without due caution and circumspection. This subdivision shall not apply to acts committed in the driving of a vehicle.
(1) Except as provided in subdivision (a) of Section 191.5, driving a vehicle in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, and with gross negligence; or driving a vehicle in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence.
(2) Driving a vehicle in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, but without gross negligence; or driving a vehicle in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, but without gross negligence.
(3) Driving a vehicle in connection with a violation of paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of Section 550, where the vehicular collision or vehicular accident was knowingly caused for financial gain and proximately resulted in the death of any person. This paragraph does not prevent prosecution of a defendant for the crime of murder.
(d) This section shall not be construed as making any homicide in the driving of a vehicle punishable that is not a proximate result of the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, or of the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner.
(e) “Gross negligence,” as used in this section, does not prohibit or preclude a charge of murder under Section 188 upon facts exhibiting wantonness and a conscious disregard for life to support a finding of implied malice, or upon facts showing malice, consistent with the holding of the California Supreme Court in People v. Watson (1981) 30 Cal.3d 290.
(f) (1) For purposes of determining sudden quarrel or heat of passion pursuant to subdivision (a), the provocation was not objectively reasonable if it resulted from the discovery of, knowledge about, or potential disclosure of the victim’s actual or perceived gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation, including under circumstances in which the victim made an unwanted nonforcible romantic or sexual advance towards the defendant, or if the defendant and victim dated or had a romantic or sexual relationship. Nothing in this section shall preclude the jury from considering all relevant facts to determine whether the defendant was in fact provoked for purposes of establishing subjective provocation.
(2) For purposes of this subdivision, “gender” includes a person’s gender identity and gender-related appearance and behavior regardless of whether that appearance or behavior is associated with the person’s gender as determined at birth.
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 See CALCRIM No. 581: https://www.justia.com/criminal/docs/calcrim/500/581.html
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 See CALCRIM Nos. 590, 591, 592, 593: https://www.justia.com/criminal/docs/calcrim/500/592.html