Recently, while looking at the laws for homicide in South Carolina, we have considered the crime of murder. Homicide is the overall term for any act by a person that ends in the death of a human being. You will remember that murder is the intentional killing of another with malice aforethought, either expressed or implied.

What about acts of homicide that don’t quite reach the level of murder? Here, we’re going to look at two of them: manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. These are sometimes called lesser included offenses of murder in South Carolina, because anyone who is guilty of murder is also, by definition, guilty of manslaughter. Note that this doesn’t work the other way around: someone guilty of manslaughter is not necessarily also guilty of murder.

What Is "Manslaughter" Under SC Law?

In South Carolina, manslaughter is the unlawful intentional killing of another person without malice. Manslaughter is not the premeditated killing of another that murder describes, but we generally think of it as a killing that occurs in the heat of passion upon a sufficient legal provocation without having time to cool down. It is a lesser included offense of murder, and it is punished by imprisonment for a period of time from two years to thirty years.

Involuntary manslaughter is a lesser included offense of murder as well, and is a result of the unintentional killing of another without malice, but while engaged in an unlawful activity that does not usually tend to cause death or great bodily harm, or while engaged in a lawful activity with reckless disregard for the safety of others. In other words: the offender accidentally kills someone while being careless.

A conviction of involuntary manslaughter can result in jail time of five years.

A Defense Lawyer Can Help When Charged

When someone is charged with murder, manslaughter, or involuntary manslaughter, it goes without saying it is important to take the charge seriously. If you are being investigated or have been charged with such a crime, please feel free to contact the lawyers of Holland & Usry, P.A. toll-free at 888-230-1841.


John Holland
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John Holland is a Spartanburg Family law attorney, practicing since 2012.
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