If a person gets into a bar fight while intoxicatedand someone is killed, will the charge be murder or manslaughter?

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If a person gets into a bar fight while intoxicatedand someone is killed, will the charge be murder or manslaughter?

If manslaughter, will it be voluntary or involuntary?

Asked on June 19, 2011 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It could be either depending on the circumstances. Assuming that it is charged as manslaughter again it could be charged as either voluntary or involuntary. All of this is highly fact dependent and you didn't provide much by way of details of the case.

A defendant should be aware that, when they cause their own intoxication, they are held to assume the risk that they will commit acts that are inherently dangerous to human life. Yet, this having been said, if they were unaware of their actions due to voluntary intoxication, and those actions result in the death of another person, there still exists the possibility that they could be charged with involuntary manslaughter (versus murder/voluntary manslaughter).

At this point you are best advised to retain an experienced criminal law attorney who practices in the court in question. They will have contacts there that they can utilize to your fullest advantage.


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