Manslaughter is a commonly discussed crime and it is often charged instead of murder. Persons can be charged with manslaughter when they recklessly cause the death of another. Also, if a person causes the death of another in the heat of passion they can face manslaughter charges. Manslaughter is a second degree crime. As a second degree crime, individuals convicted of the offense can face between five (5) and ten (10) years in prison. With potential penalties as serious as these, you need to hire an experienced criminal attorney if you have been charged or under investigation for manslaughter in Ocean County. Our former prosecutors and skilled defense lawyers have been practicing in Toms River and elsewhere in this region for decades. Indeed, we possess over 100 years of experience between the attorneys at our firm. If you need assistance with a charge at the county seat in Toms River, Brick Township, Lakewood, Jackson, Manchester, Berkeley or another town in the county, call our firm at (732) 286-6500. We are available to assist you 24/7 and initial consultations with a lawyer at Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are always free of charge.Proving a Manslaughter Charge Based on Unintentional Conduct
Although manslaughter is a serious second degree crime, there are only two elements that must be proven by the state to obtain a conviction. In this regard, the state must prove that:
- The accused cause the death of another; and
- The death was the result of reckless conduct on the part of the accused.
For purposes of this offense, a person acts recklessly when they consciously disregard a substantial risk and their actions are a gross deviation from a reasonable person acting with ordinary care. A detailed discussion regarding how this standard applies in the context of operation of an automobile can be found on our page addressing the offense known as death by auto (a.k.a. vehicular homicide). You may also refer to our detailed discussion concerning the charge of causing a drug induced death if you have been charged with that subspecies of manslaughter by the Ocean County Prosecutor.Manslaughter Based on Intentional Misconduct
A manslaughter charge can also result from more intentional actions. Despite the intentional actions, when a person is acting out of passion the state will sometimes reduce the charges from murder to manslaughter. If the death was perpetrated in the heat of passion the defendant might face manslaughter charges. The state must then show that the defendant was provoked and as a result of the provocation he acted out of passion in dispatching the human life. This variety of manslaughter often arises as a backup and/or downgraded charge where it is established, beyond reasonable doubt, that the death was: (1) reasonably provoked; and (2) was in the heat of passion.Penalties
A person convicted of manslaughter has committed a second degree crime. As a second degree crime, manslaughter carries potentially serious criminal penalties. Defendants can serve between five (5) and ten (10) years in prison. Similar to aggravated manslaughter, manslaughter is a No Early Release Act offense. NERA requires a person to serve a minimum of 85% of their imposed prison term. Additionally, substantial fines can be imposed against a defendant. Criminal fines are not the only possible monetary penalties that can result from the charge. It is possible that the defendant will face civil damages as part of a civil law suit.Brick Township Manslaughter Attorney
Although we have attempted to simplify the charge of manslaughter in this discussion, this is definitely an area of the New Jersey Criminal Code that is complex. There are a wide array of issues that can arise in the context of this offense irrespective of whether you are referring to provocation (intentional) manslaughter or reckless manslaughter. This certainly is not an area of law for the inexperienced attorney. So call our former prosecutors for the knowledgeable guidance and assistance you are looking for defending the manslaughter charge that was filed in Barnegat, Stafford, Little Egg Harbor, Ocean Township, Lacey or another Ocean County municipality. Our team of defense lawyers has over a century of experience to call upon to formulate a plan in your defense. A Brick Township Manslaughter Attorney, including the former prosecutor in the town, Matthew Dorry, is available immediately to assist you at (732) 286-6500. Our lawyers welcome the opportunity to speak with you.