Miami Manslaughter Defense Attorney
Protecting the Rights of Clients in Miami & Fort Lauderdale
When a person dies as the result of another person’s actions, manslaughter is a less serious violent crime than murder. Manslaughter charges are still felony offenses that can result in steep prison sentences.
The absence of malice or criminal intent beforehand that led to the alleged victim’s death is usually what differentiates manslaughter from murder. People cannot be convicted of manslaughter when deaths are the results of negligence or the killings were deemed excusable or justified.
If you are under investigation or you have already been arrested for an alleged manslaughter offense in Florida, do not say anything to authorities without legal representation. The Hoffman Firm aggressively defends clients charged with crimes of violence in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Our Miami manslaughter defense lawyer has experience handling these types of cases as a former Assistant State Attorney and can fight to get the criminal charges reduced or completely dismissed.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Get a former prosecutor on your side immediately!
Florida Manslaughter Penalties
The two most common types of manslaughter cases are voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter is an unintentional killing that usually stems from an alleged offender’s culpable negligence, but voluntary manslaughter is an intentional killing that typically lacks the full criminal intent necessary to qualify as a murder charge (most frequently to as “heat-of-passion” killings).
In order for a person to be convicted of manslaughter in Florida, the prosecutor must prove that a victim is dead and either:
- The alleged offender intentionally committed an act or acts that caused the victim’s death;
- The alleged offender intentionally procured an act that caused the victim’s death; or
- The victim’s death was caused by the culpable negligence of the alleged offender.
Under Florida Statute § 782.07, manslaughter is a second-degree felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $10,000. An alleged manslaughter can become a first-degree felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $10,000 if the alleged offender caused the death of any of the following types of people by culpable negligence:
- A firefighter;
- A law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or correctional probation officer;
- A paramedic;
- An emergency medical technician;
- Any elderly person or disabled adult; or
- Any person under the age of 18.
Culpable negligence is defined as “a course of conduct showing reckless disregard of human life, or of the safety of persons exposed to its dangerous effects, or such an entire want of care as to raise a presumption of a conscious indifference to consequences, or which shows wantonness or recklessness, or a grossly careless disregard for the safety and welfare of the public, or such an indifference to the rights of others as is equivalent to an intentional violation of such rights.”
Legal Defenses for Manslaughter Charges
Chapter 7.7 of the Florida Standard Jury Instructions establishes three scenarios in which an alleged offender cannot be found guilty of manslaughter:
- Negligence — If the alleged offender violates the duty to act reasonably toward others without any conscious intention to harm, the violation is negligence. A purely negligent act cannot be considered manslaughter.
- Justifiable Homicide — Florida Statute § 782.02 defines justifiable homicide as the justifiable use of deadly force “when a person is resisting any attempt to murder such person or to commit any felony upon him or her or upon or in any dwelling house in which such person shall be.”
- Excusable Homicide — Under Florida Statute § 782.03, “Homicide is excusable when committed by accident and misfortune in doing any lawful act by lawful means with usual ordinary caution, and without any unlawful intent, or by accident and misfortune in the heat of passion, upon any sudden and sufficient provocation, or upon a sudden combat, without any dangerous weapon being used and not done in a cruel or unusual manner.”
Many self-defense or “stand your ground” claims are considered justified or excusable homicide. Other possible defenses against manslaughter charges can include, but are not limited to mistaken identity, insanity, or violations of the alleged offender’s constitutional rights.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today
Have you been arrested for alleged manslaughter in Miami or Fort Lauderdale? You should refuse to make any kind of statement to authorities until you have first contacted The Hoffman Firm.
Call (305) 928-1669 to learn about your legal options today.
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