Murder and Manslaughter charges are very serious and could lead to life in prison or even the death penalty. There are a wide variety of homicide charges; including capital murder, second degree murder, felony murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.
Capital Murder is a Class One felony, for which the Court can impose either life imprisonment or the death penalty. Capital Murder is the willful, deliberate and premeditated killing involving kidnapping, murder for hire, of a law enforcement officer, of a Judge, during a rape, in the course of a continuing criminal enterprise, while committing an act of terrorism, or of a person under the age of 14.
Felony murder is the accidental killing of a victim during the commission of a felonious act. Basically, if a person accidentally shoots the store clerk while he is robbing a store it is considered felony, or second degree murder, even though there was no intention to shoot the clerk.
Involuntary manslaughter is the unlawful killing of another human being unintentionally. Several states use words like “negligent homicide” or “reckless homicide” to describe this offense. For example, if a reckless driver accidentally hits a pedestrian it may be considered involuntary manslaughter. Virginia considers this crime a Class 5 Felony. A person convicted of a Class 5 felony can be incarcerated for up to ten years.
Voluntary manslaughter is the unjustifiable and intentional killing of another human being with no premeditation, deliberation or malice. Virginia also considers voluntary manslaughter to be a Class 5 Felony.