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Ohio Crime of Passion Laws

An act of murder may be for various reasons. A crime of passion is described as an act of murder that was not intentional but resulted out of intense passion, emotion or anger. For example, a woman comes home to find her husband committing adultery. In a fit of rage, she reaches to a gun in her purse and shoots him dead. This act of murder was not intentional as it was not pre-planned.

Thus Ohio state laws classify murder into two categories namely murder and voluntary manslaughter. Both were intentional but voluntary manslaughter is what classifies as a crime of passion. Voluntary manslaughter happens when emotion takes over rationality.


Defenses for individuals charged with voluntary manslaughter has similarities with homicidal defense charges. A defendant standing in charges for voluntary manslaughter can argue that they didn’t actually commit the crime. Another effective argument could be that their actions are justified. Another effective argument could be that their actions did not meet the requirements needed for a voluntary manslaughter charge.

Not committing crime at all can be the best defense argument that a defendant can resort to. It would be difficult for prosecutors to prove beyond doubt that the defendant is actually guilty of the crime. Grounds to refute the charge could include an established alibi or argument that there are reasons beyond doubt that can prove that the defendant was actually not present at the site of the crime. Some other voluntary manslaughter defenses are as follows:

Self Defense:

Voluntary manslaughter committed while defending oneself is an effective way to argue a case. There are two different self-defense mechanisms that a defendant can use. It is called perfect or imperfect self-defense. Perfect self-defense says that a defendant had to use reasonable force to protect oneself and involve no wrongdoing on his or her part. Imperfect self-defense claims an unreasonable belief that deadly force was necessary and the defendant might have acted wrongly in committing the murder.

For example, the defendant who was the aggressor in the situation had to use deadly force, enough to protect his own life. This is called an imperfect self-defense claim.

A perfect self-defense claim can effect an acquittal of the defendant whereas an imperfect self-defense claim can only result in a reduced manslaughter charge.


At the time of the homicide, if the defendant can prove in court that he or she was suffering from insanity, the justice system will not hold them responsible for the crime. The explanation to insanity is that at the time of the crime the defendant was unable to understand for himself that what he was about to do was wrong and against the law. In simpler terms, the defendant was unable to distinguish between right and wrong.

Accidental killing:

Another effective way of seeking an acquittal in a voluntary manslaughter case is if the killing occurred due to an accident. Reckless or negligent behavior may have caused the killing. However, the defendant can argue that it was by no means intentional. This approach to the case can result in a substantially reduced sentence.

An example of an accidental killing is if a person enraged for some reason pulls out of the parking lot while not aware of the people around him, hit a person and kills him. The person was charged with voluntary manslaughter. Contrarily, if the defendant can prove that it was his carelessness that caused the death and that the accident was not intentional, the charges can be reduced to involuntary manslaughter.


Intoxication is usually not a defense that could acquit a person. However, the defendant can argue that intoxication at the time of the crime was actually involuntary. For example, the defendant was drugged against his will. Although this does not affect a prosecution charge in most cases, there are possibilities of getting reduced charges.

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Search for anyone in the United States! 100% Confidential! Updated on August 13, 2022
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