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Types of Manslaughter Charges Manslaughter/Murder

Types of Manslaughter Charges

8 months ago by Brian
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Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought. Those who commit manslaughter will face a lesser sentence than someone who committed murder.

If someone’s carelessness caused another person’s death, this will be referred to as negligent manslaughter. In 2021, there were 68 cases of reported negligent manslaughter in Minnesota.

If you are arrested, you need reliable counsel that can be found by hiring Attorney Justin M. Schiks to defend your rights.

Minnesota Law on Manslaughter

Minnesota law recognizes two types of manslaughter: voluntary and involuntary. The law refers to voluntary manslaughter as first-degree manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter as second-degree manslaughter.

First-Degree Manslaughter

First-degree manslaughter is when a person is provoked by the heat of passion, either by another person’s words or actions.

Minnesota Statute § 609.20 states that in order for the killing to constitute “heat of passion,” the situation would need to mentally and emotionally disturb a person of “ordinary self-control under like circumstances” to a point where he or she would act out in violence.

A classic example is if you come home to find your spouse cheating on you with your best friend. In the heat of the moment, you may take out your gun and shoot your friend, your spouse, or both of them.

Unlike first-degree murder, it was not premeditated, meaning that you do not plan to kill anyone before walking into the bedroom. A first-degree manslaughter charge will carry with it a prison term of up to 15 years and a maximum fine of $30,000.

Second-Degree Manslaughter

A person who is charged with second-degree manslaughter unintentionally kills someone. Second-degree manslaughter is taking an unreasonable risk in which you consciously put another in harm’s way.

A classic example is if you point a gun at an audience and fire, thinking that the magazine is empty. If there is live ammunition and the bullet fires and kills someone, you will likely face a second-degree manslaughter charge.

In another situation, you could be charged with second-degree manslaughter if you mistakenly believe that your friend is a deer or other wildlife, and you shoot. This act would be considered negligence since you should have taken proper care to identify your prey before pulling the trigger.

A charge of second-degree manslaughter comes with a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine of up to $20,000.

Is Killing Someone in a Car Accident Manslaughter?

If you operated your vehicle and caused another’s death by gross negligence, you could be charged with vehicular homicide. Gross negligence is a lack of care and a reckless disregard for the safety of others.

Besides operating your vehicle in a “grossly negligent manner,” you could also be charged with vehicular homicide in the following circumstances:

  • In a negligent manner while under the influence of:
  • If you are intoxicated;
  • If you are under the influence of drugs or
  • Any combination of those elements;
  • While having a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or more and
  • While having a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or more, as measured within two hours of the time of driving

If you have been charged with a first-degree or second-degree manslaughter charge, you need the assistance of a Woodbury criminal defense lawyer.

A Criminal Defense Lawyer Upholding Your Rights

A manslaughter charge may seem foreboding. You may think that no criminal defense attorney will be able to get you a plea bargain, and you will spend a number of years in prison.

At JS Defense, we have various strategies to reduce your criminal charges and even to get your charges dropped. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

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