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What is voluntary manslaughter in Maryland?

In our previous blog posts, our readers might have read about cases involving murder and manslaughter. It is important for all of our readers to know what these charges mean. With that in mind, we are going to discuss how Maryland laws view voluntary manslaughter charges.

What is voluntary manslaughter?

Voluntary manslaughter occurs when a person is intentionally killed, but the charges are decreased from second-degree murder or first-degree murder because of the circumstances of the situation. In some cases, this is referred to as the killing occurring in the heat of passion. Basically, that means the person was provoked in a legally adequate manner to kill the other person. Interestingly, catching your spouse cheating on you wouldn't fall under the voluntary manslaughter laws in Maryland.

Is there a statute of limitation on voluntary manslaughter?

Maryland doesn't have a statute of limitation on voluntary manslaughter. This means that it doesn't matter how much time elapses from when the act took place to when the charges are filed. That means killing someone can come back to haunt you even decades later.

What is the penalty for voluntary manslaughter?

There are two possible penalties for voluntary manslaughter in Maryland. The first is a prison sentence of up to 10 years. The second is up to two years in prison and a fine of $500.

Even with the lesser of those sentencing options, being convicted of voluntary manslaughter can have life-long effects. Understanding your rights regarding your defense and exploring all your options can help you to ensure that those rights are being honored.

Source: FindLaw, "Maryland Voluntary Manslaughter Law" accessed Jan. 16, 2015

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