Mistakes and accidents happen. Sometimes, those mistakes and accidents have extreme consequences. This could result in manslaughter charges, which comes with serious consequences. Find out how you might be able to beat those charges with the help of a manslaughter defense attorney.
What Is Manslaughter?
Manslaughter laws vary depending upon your state. In Rhode Island, the rules regarding manslaughter are quite strict. According to Rhode Island law, manslaughter is a type of homicide. It falls under Rhode Island Code Title 11-23-3. In the state, manslaughter involves taking another individual’s life. Whether the act was out of intent or out of neglect, the incident is a crime. As such, you can face criminal charges.
Although some laws can be very specific, Rhode Island’s manslaughter laws are anything but specific. The definition is quite broad. To clarify things, the state’s law has two separate categories for manslaughter. First, there is involuntary manslaughter. Secondly, there is voluntary manslaughter. The crime and penalties for both crimes vary greatly. For that reason, it is important to familiarize yourself with the difference between the two.
When you kill someone without intent and due to recklessness, then the crime is known as involuntary manslaughter. Often, involuntary manslaughter is a complete accident. For example, driving drunk and hitting a cyclist would be involuntary manslaughter. As long as you did not intend to hit or kill the cyclist, then the crime is involuntary.
If you intended to kill another individual, then you are guilty of voluntary manslaughter. Often, this is a crime driven by passion. If there is any planning involved, then the incident is not manslaughter but is first-degree murder. Specifically, the law states that first-degree murder involves “malice aforethought.” When voluntary manslaughter occurs, there are no bad thoughts before you commit the crime.
For example, you could be guilty of voluntary manslaughter if you killed your wife during a heated argument. You didn’t plan the murder or have any thoughts about hurting her before the incident. Instead, your emotions drove you to commit involuntary manslaughter.
Manslaughter or Murder?
There are a few key differences between manslaughter and murder. First, there is the intentional aspect. While murder is a crime that an individual intends to commit, manslaughter lacks intent.
Another key difference is that manslaughter does not involve a criminal felony. If you did not intend to kill someone while you committed a felony, then the court could charge you with murder. In this case, your criminal activity makes the crime more serious.
The Penalty for Manslaughter Charges
In Rhode Island, the penalty for a manslaughter conviction can be quite harsh. The most severe penalty is a life sentence in prison. However, every manslaughter case has a different verdict. The consequences vary depending on your situation.
There are general guidelines that a judge follows before issuing a sentence for manslaughter. You could get up to 30 years or even a life sentence in prison. Other penalties include probation, fines, and the revocation of your right to own a gun.
Before determining your sentence, a judge will consider several important factors. For one, he might consider whether or not your crime involved a weapon. He might also consider your past criminal history. Additionally, the court will consider how much intent played a part in your crime. If the court thinks that anything else is relevant to your sentencing, then that will be considered. There is no way to be certain how the court will sentence you.
What Can a Manslaughter Defense Attorney Do for You?
If you want to beat your criminal charges, then you need a manslaughter defense attorney. With a lawyer’s help, you might not suffer from the harsh consequences of a manslaughter conviction.
There are several ways in which your manslaughter defense attorney might be able to help you. Here are a few:
1. Reduction of Charges
If the court charges you with voluntary manslaughter, then your lawyer might be able to get them to reduce the charges. Specifically, he might get you the charges reduced to involuntary manslaughter. To accomplish this, your lawyer needs to show that the crime was an accident.
If you are innocent, then a manslaughter defense attorney might be able to prove your innocence. This isn’t always easy. However, it is possible. Your lawyer might be able to create doubt in the court’s mind. If he can do this, then you might not get a guilty verdict.
If you face manslaughter charges, then self-defense could be a strong defense strategy. Your lawyer needs to prove that you needed to use deadly force to protect your life. Additionally, he needs to prove that there was no wrongdoing on your part.
The right defense for your case depends on the specifics of your case. Therefore, only an experienced attorney can determine the right strategy. Once he chooses the right strategy, you can get a good outcome.