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If you take the life of another human being, the charges that you face will depend on different factors leading up to and relating to the crime. You’ll likely be charged with murder (first, second or third degree) or manslaughter (voluntary or involuntary). No matter what, the fact remains that you’ll need a skilled Philadelphia criminal attorney by your side to mount an effective defense and ensure that you are treated fairly throughout the legal process.

In today’s post, we’ll take a look at manslaughter and the key differences between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.


Manslaughter is an unlawful killing of a human being that occurs without malice aforethought, meaning that the defendant is considered less morally culpable than he or she would be in a murder case.

Voluntary manslaughter

Often known as a “heat of passion” crime, voluntary manslaughter takes place when an individual kills someone after being provoked. While the offense may have been committed intentionally, the emotional context implies that the defendant didn’t have full control over his or her behavior at the time.

Involuntary manslaughter

Involuntary manslaughter occurs when an individual’s gross negligence or recklessness directly results in another person’s death. The main factor that sets it apart from voluntary manslaughter is that the offense is typically committed unintentionally.

Since both voluntary and involuntary manslaughter both involve the unlawful killing of a human being, people who are charged with either of these crimes in Philadelphia could face harsh penalties if convicted. That being said, you can rest assured knowing that there are skilled, locally based attorneys who are here to help. Call The Zeiger Firm to schedule a consultation.

Brian J. Zeiger, Esquire, is an experienced and successful criminal defense and civil rights attorney. He is a seasoned trial lawyer with significant experience before juries and judges. Brian understands civil rights cases, including Taser, Wrongful Death, Excessive Force, Police Brutality, Police Misconduct, Malicious Prosecution, Monell Claims, Sexual Assault, Prisoner’s Rights, Time Credit, Medical Malpractice, and Medical Indifference.