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Manslaughter is a serious charge, with serious penalties for those who are convicted. But if you unintentionally killed someone while defending yourself in South Carolina, it’s possible that the law could recognize you as a victim rather than an aggressor. 

In these cases, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to use self-defense to overcome a manslaughter charge. If you’ve found yourself with a manslaughter charge, it’s important to contact a qualified criminal defense attorney and familiarize yourself with the laws surrounding manslaughter charges and self-defense. 

What is a Manslaughter Charge? 

The law defines manslaughter as the unintentional killing of a person. There are three types of manslaughter that the court can convict you of: voluntary, involuntary, and vehicular. 

Voluntary Manslaughter 

Voluntary manslaughter refers to killing an individual intentionally, but without malice and without planning it beforehand. A person who commits a “crime of passion” might be charged with voluntary manslaughter. 

Involuntary Manslaughter 

A person may be charged with involuntary manslaughter if their reckless or negligent behavior leads to another person’s death. For example, if someone is street racing and ends up causing a fatal accident, that person might be charged with involuntary manslaughter. 

Vehicular Manslaughter

A person might be charged with vehicular manslaughter if they commit either a non-felony crime — such as speeding — or even a lawful act that results in a fatal car accident. 

What happens if you unintentionally kill someone in self-defense?

Both murder and manslaughter charges count as homicide charges in South Carolina, and self-defense is a legitimate defense against homicide charges. 

If you have a criminal defense attorney who can establish that you were acting in legitimate self-defense with justified use of deadly force when you killed another person, it’s possible that your voluntary or involuntary manslaughter charges may be dismissed, or you may be acquitted at trial. 

When Self-Defense Is an Appropriate Defense

In South Carolina, it’s possible to effectively use self-defense as a line of defense in a manslaughter case where you believed that your aggressor posed an immediate threat, and you used the amount of force that was necessary to repel your aggressor’s threat — and no more.

South Carolina law dictates that you can legally, without fear of punishment, use deadly force if you reasonably believe that you or another person is in grave danger of bodily harm or death. 

Stand-Your-Ground Law

Some states require you to make an attempt at retreating before using deadly force; however, South Carolina has a stand-your-ground law. This law dictates that when a person is in a place where they have a right to be and isn’t breaking the law, they are not required to attempt to retreat before employing the use of deadly force in self-defense. 

If this is true for you, an experienced attorney can make a world of difference in helping you prove that these conditions were met when the incident took place and protecting your rights against your self-defense manslaughter charge. 

Get in Touch with the Law Office of Mo Abusaft Today

A manslaughter conviction can be disastrous, potentially costing you years away from your family, friends, and work. If you unintentionally killed someone in self-defense, you don’t deserve to spend untold lengths of time in prison. Overcoming a self-defense manslaughter charge can be life-saving. 

State and federal prosecutors in South Carolina can have an unfair advantage over the accused and work aggressively to convict defendants. A criminal defense attorney from the Law Office of Mo Abusaft can help level the playing field and protect your freedom and your future. 

Reach out to our Spartanburg office to discuss your case today.