When one person takes another person’s life, they may be charged with a crime. Exactly what they are charged with differs from case to case, though, and can have a drastic impact on the potential sentence and on their legal defense options. 

One type of homicide that Tennessee law recognizes is known as voluntary manslaughter. What does this entail? 

Voluntary manslaughter is a type of intentional killing

Unlike a negligent homicide, voluntary manslaughter does refer to an intentional killing. The person who took the other person’s life fully intended to do so and took action that directly resulted in the loss of life — on purpose. 

This is not the same as murder, though, because it does not contain an element of premeditation. Voluntary manslaughter refers to things that occur in the heat of the moment. Had the person stepped back and calmed down, they may never have carried out that act, but there was no time to evade the passion that they felt, and they acted accordingly. 

One of the most common examples of this is if one spouse comes home and finds the other engaged in an extramarital affair. They are suddenly surprised and outraged by this turn of events, and they attack their romantic rival. It was not premeditated because they did not know about the affair and never considered taking that person’s life until the moment they found them. 

Determining your defense to voluntary manslaughter charges

When facing these types of chargers, it is crucial to understand the role of things like intent, premeditation and voluntary action. They can help you as you look into the defense options that you have and consider the best course of action.