The law provides very specific, classifications for the taking of a life. Intentional killing that is premeditated, known as First-Degree murder, is one of the most serious crimes covered by the law, whereas intentional killing that was not premeditated, known as voluntary manslaughter, holds a place of lesser severity in the eyes of the law. This distinction may cause individuals to believe that accusations of less severe crimes like voluntary manslaughter should not be taken seriously, but this is incorrect.
The penalties for First Degree murder are often as serious as penalties get: life in prison or capital punishment. Voluntary manslaughter does not bring such significant penalties, but the taking of another life is never taken lightly by the law. The penalties for voluntary manslaughter could be a monetary fine, up to 10 years in prison or both, according to federal law. Each state decides the exact punishments differently, so it can be helpful to learn what voluntary manslaughter means in Florida courts.
As you can see, just because voluntary manslaughter is considered a lesser homicide does not mean that you should not take the penalties or charges seriously. Failing to adequately defend yourself could ultimately cost you a decade of your life, thousands of dollars and, of course, brand you as a criminal in the eyes of the law and society for the rest of your life. These are not consequences you should flirt with.
To best ensure that you are not convicted of a crime you did not commit, you should take all criminal accusations seriously, particularly accusations of a violent crime such as manslaughter. As soon as you believe that you are a suspect in a homicide case, you should consider contacting a Florida attorney to help you prepare a case.