Manslaughter Criminal Lawyer

What’s the difference between manslaughter and murder? Murder requires knowingly or purposely causing death, while manslaughter only requires a reckless mind state or a homicide committed in the heat of passion resulting from a reasonable provocation.

Defenses against Manslaughter, which in other jurisdictions is referred to as ‘Involuntary Manslaughter’, include, but are not limited to:

  • Lack of required intent
  • Self-defense
  • Defense of others
  • Insanity

Voluntary Manslaughter

Voluntary manslaughter involves intentionally killing another person, but with no prior intent to kill. This form of manslaughter usually occurs in the heat of the moment or in the heat of passion. What this means exactly varies greatly, depending on the situation.

Voluntary manslaughter, also referred to as ‘provocation/passion manslaughter’, is a crime of the second degree. A conviction carries a five to ten year prison term with 85% parole ineligibility. The sentence can be doubled for repeat offenders.

Aggravated Manslaughter

One can be convicted of aggravated manslaughter if he/she recklessly causes the death of another individual under circumstances manifesting extreme lack of interest, concern, or sympathy for another human life.  The state must prove that the defendant directly caused the victim’s death, the defendant did so recklessly, and the defendant ended the victim’s life while showing extreme indifference to human life.

Aggravated Manslaughter is categorized as a crime of the first degree and carries a potential 10-30 year sentence.

Defenses against Aggravated Manslaughter include, but are not limited to:

  • Disputing evidence that the death was caused by the defendant
  • Utilizing evidence that the defendant was not acting recklessly
  • Demonstrating some likelihood that the defendant did not show extreme indifference to human life

Death by Auto or Vessel

Death by Auto or Vessel is defined as the unintentional killing of another person due to recklessly operating a vehicle or vessel of some form. The most common reasons why someone might be charged with death by auto or vessel are the operator’s actions resulted in a death because he/she was not complying with the law, was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, fell asleep, or was deprived of sleep for more than 24 hours while operating the vehicle/vessel.

Death by Auto or Vessel is usually considered a 2nd-degree crime in New Jersey.  However, it can be considered a first degree crime if it is committed in a school zone or through a school crossing.  It carries a five- to twenty-year prison sentence depending on the severity of the crime.

Defenses against Death by Auto or Vessel include, but are not limited to:

  • Raising reasonable doubt as to who was operating the vehicle
  • Showing a lack of causation
  • Demonstrating some likelihood that the defendant was not driving recklessly

No matter what your legal situation, you should feel comfortable contacting Fred Sisto for assistance. Give him a call today at (732) 898-3232.

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