Manslaughter Attorney in Tampa, FL
Being involved in the death of another human being is traumatic enough. But facing criminal charges and a long potential prison sentence adds enormously to that burden. Manslaughter charges demand an aggressive defense that only experienced, qualified legal representation can provide.
If you or a loved one are facing manslaughter charges in the Tampa, FL, area, call Armando Edmiston, an experienced Tampa manslaughter criminal defense lawyer, today.
Manslaughter: An Introduction in Tampa, FL
Manslaughter laws in Florida cover the less serious types of criminal homicide, while murder laws cover the more serious offenses. The key difference between the two is one of culpability, or criminal state of mind. Murder requires an intent to kill, a “depraved mind,” or an intent to commit a felony during which someone is killed. Manslaughter, on the other hand, involves a less culpable state of mind. There are two kinds of manslaughter, each with a different level of culpability: voluntary and involuntary.
Voluntary Manslaughter: Act or Procurement in Tampa, FL
Voluntary manslaughter covers killings committed by act or procurement that do not qualify as murder but are not legally justified or excused. This means it is voluntary manslaughter to unlawfully kill someone by doing something or by persuading someone else to do something, as long as the act or procurement lacks the full criminal state of mind required for a murder conviction. These killings are considered intentional, but courts do not require proof of intent to kill, only intent to commit or procure the act that caused death. Voluntary manslaughter is largely reserved for heat-of-passion killings that would qualify as murder but for the fact they were impulsive and followed sufficient provocation. The offenders in these cases intend to kill, as do first-degree murderers, but by acting impulsively they display a lack of the premeditation and malice required to prove a murder charge. One of the most common examples of voluntary manslaughter is the husband who discovers his wife in bed with another man and kills the man in a moment of rage. Voluntary manslaughter charges are also applied to defendants who kill out of an honest but unreasonable belief they are committing justifiable homicide — for example, an honest but unreasonable belief that deadly force is necessary in self defense.
Involuntary Manslaughter: Culpable Negligence and Vehicular Homicide in Tampa, FL
It is also manslaughter in Florida to cause the death of another person through “culpable negligence.” This type of killing is known as involuntary manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide and covers unintentional unlawful killings. Essentially, this type of manslaughter covers killings that result from reckless acts. Culpable negligence is a beefed-up version of ordinary negligence and is defined as knowingly doing something the offender must know, or reasonably should know, is likely to cause death or great bodily injury. Vehicular homicide is a special type of involuntary manslaughter, as is manslaughter by driving under the influence.
Manslaughter: Penalties in Tampa, FL
All these types of manslaughter, voluntary and involuntary, vehicular and DUI, are second-degree felonies punishable by as many as 15 years in prison. A mandatory minimum sentence of more than nine years applies to voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and vehicular homicide, while manslaughter by DUI carries a mandatory minimum of more than 10 years. The involuntary manslaughter of an elderly person, a disabled adult, a child, or a police officer, firefighter or other rescue personnel is considered aggravated manslaughter, a first-degree felony punishable by as many as 30 years in prison. Aggravated manslaughter of an elderly person or a disabled adult carries a minimum penalty of 11 years while aggravated manslaughter of a child comes with a minimum of 13 years.