Murder and manslaughter are different crimes. Murder is the intentional killing of a human being. Manslaughter does not involve the intent to kill. In Minnesota, a person can be charged with one of two types of manslaughter: involuntary or voluntary manslaughter.
What is Voluntary Manslaughter in Minnesota?
Voluntary manslaughter is the criminal act of intentionally causing another human being’s death. This means a person is accused of doing something or not doing something to cause the victim to die. For example, voluntary manslaughter in Minnesota is called the heat of passion. A heat of passion killing occurs when a person is provoked by a situation such as finding their spouse having sex with someone else. They kill the spouse. They were provoked by emotions and did not intend to cause their spouse harm. Thus, they would be charged with voluntary manslaughter instead of murder.
Another example of voluntary manslaughter is unintentionally causing a victim’s death by selling, administering or giving away a controlled substance. The victim takes the controlled substance and dies. The person that sold or gave the victim the substance can be charged with voluntary manslaughter in Minnesota.
What is Involuntary Manslaughter in Minnesota?
Involuntary manslaughter is the criminal act of causing a victim’s death because of gross negligence or reckless behavior. This means the person being charged had a total disregard for other people’s safety. The death may have been accidental, but because the person acted with reckless disregard, they can be charged with involuntary manslaughter.
One type of involuntary manslaughter is vehicular homicide. A vehicular homicide occurs when a driver causes an accident that kills a victim or her unborn fetus because of total disregard for human life. For example, the driver was texting at the time of the accident or driving under the influence of alcohol.
A depraved heart is another type of involuntary manslaughter. In Minnesota, depraved heart murder is behavior so dangerous that the person would not have acted so badly if they didn’t have a depraved mind or heart. One example of this is the crime of walking into a crowd and shooting a gun in the air and killing someone. The person didn’t intend to kill anyone. However, they acted with a depraved heart because they wanted to see people fear for their lives.
Penalties for Manslaughter Crimes
The penalty for voluntary manslaughter is 15 years in prison. A person may have to pay a $30,000 fine. The penalty for involuntary manslaughter is 10 years in prison. The person may have to pay a $20,000 fine, too. The actual sentence depends on any priors and the circumstances of the case.
Contact JS Defense for Legal Assistance
A criminal charge of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter can result in serious penalties such as prison time. This is not a time to hope for the best and fear the worst. If you or your loved one is being charged with a manslaughter crime, contact us at JS Defense. We understand the seriousness of criminal charges. We have helped numerous clients facing a manslaughter charge achieve outcomes in their favor at trial.
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