Are there any lawyers in the audience? (I know there’s at least one, but I thought I’d ask in general.) I need some opinions on a what-if so I can figure out the most likely chain of events. I don’t need to know what absolutely would happen because I don’t thing that’s possible with the law; I just want to know what’s most likely to happen so that the story is plausible so readers won’t say, “That would never happen.”
The situation is this:
Two people have an argument. Person A attacks Person B and Person B is knocked unconscious accidentally. Person B is lying on the floor, bleeding profused from a head wound. Person A turns and walks away. Person B bleeds out, dying from that and not the head wound.
I’m pretty sure that’s manslaughter not murder because there was no intent to kill, but I think it’s voluntary manslaughter (there was provocation in that there was an argument and it got personal) not involuntary. After that, I’m even more clueless, so my questions are:
What crime, if any, did Person A commmit beyond assault and battery? That is, what is Person A most likely charged with when he or she is arrested?
If Person A has no priors and has strong ties to the community, I’m assuming there will be bail and Person A will go home. How long after Person A is arrested will the case most likely go to court?
Assuming Person A is convicted, what is the most likely sentence?
Again, I don’t need to know what absolutely would happen because nobody can predict that. I just need to be plausible. We’re looking for the Realm of Possibility here or the Most Likely Outcome.
This is Ohio’s take on manslaughter:
Voluntary manslaughter is typically described as a “heat of passion” homicide. As such, it is
no person, while under the influence of sudden passion or in sudden fit of rage, either
of which is brought on by serious provocation occasioned by the victim that is
reasonably sufficient to incite the person into using deadly force, shall knowingly
cause the death of another or the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy (Ohio
Revised Code, §2903.03, 1996).
Voluntary manslaughter is treated as a first-degree felony in Ohio.
According to the text, involuntary manslaughter involves negligence on the part of the offender.
Under Ohio law, however, the negligence level of culpability is not used. Instead, involuntary
manslaughter is defined as,
no person shall cause the death of another or the unlawful termination of another’s
pregnancy as a proximate result of the offender’s committing or attempting to
commit a felony (Ohio Revised Code, §2903.04, 2004).
Involuntary manslaughter also involves the death of another while committing or attempting to
commit a misdemeanor. As indicated earlier, murder is defined as causing the death of another
while committing or attempting to commit a first- or second-degree felony. If an individual
causes the death of another while attempting to a commit third-, fourth,-or fifth-degree felony or a
misdemeanor, he can be charged with involuntary manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter
during the commission of a felony is considered a first-degree felony; during the commission of a
misdemeanor, it is considered a third-degree felony.
Which still doesn’t tell me what’s most likely to happen in real life.
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