A homicide occurs anytime a person kills another, and can be either lawful or unlawful. In Kansas, there are seven types of criminal homicide: capital murder, first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and assisting suicide. This article provides a brief overview of Kansas' voluntary manslaughter law.
The Difference Between Murder and Manslaughter
Malice, or the intention or desire to kill or cause serious bodily harm, is the key difference between murder and manslaughter. Murder is the unlawful killing of another with malice aforethought, while manslaughter is the unlawful killing of another without malice.
What's the Difference Between Voluntary and Involuntary Manslaughter?
In Kansas, the main difference between voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter is whether or not the killing was done intentionally. Voluntary manslaughter is usually defined as an intentional killing where the offender didn't previously intend to kill the victim (for example if the killing took place "in the heat of passion").
Some states, including Kansas, also define voluntary manslaughter to include killings where the offender mistakenly believed that the use of deadly force was legally permissible. The chart below illustrates Kansas' voluntary manslaughter law.
|Kansas Statutes section 21-3403: Voluntary Manslaughter|
|Intentionally killing a human being:
|Voluntary manslaughter is a severity level 3, person felony.|
Voluntary Manslaughter Defenses
A defendant charged with voluntary manslaughter may attempt to prove that they didn't commit the crime, claim that their actions were justified, or show that their actions didn't meet the elements of voluntary manslaughter. The circumstances surrounding each case determines which of the following defenses, if any, a defendant will likely use.
For more information about commonly used defenses to a voluntary manslaughter charge see FindLaw's article on voluntary manslaughter defenses.
State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Kansas' voluntary manslaughter law contact a local criminal defense attorney.
Contact a qualified attorney.