Manslaughter refers to a person recklessly causing the death of someone else. If you’re charged with manslaughter, it can bear the punishments and penalties listed under first degree crimes or second degree crimes in New Jersey, depending on the grading of your charge.
Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney might be your only chance to drastically reduce your punishments, or a potentially have the case dismissed entirely.
Manslaughter is codified in N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4, which stipulates that a person commits the crime of manslaughter when he or she consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk while causing another person’s death.
Under the statute, there are different levels of manslaughter. First degree aggravated manslaughter is the most serious, referring to a person who causes a death while manifesting extreme indifference to human life. This is pretty vague, but it generally means that the person’s actions resulted in a high probability of someone else’s death. First degree aggravated manslaughter is punishable by ten (10) to 30 years in prison and a $200,000.00 fine.
First degree aggravated manslaughter can also be charged when a death is caused while fleeing a police officer. This typically occurs in a high-speed pursuit. If convicted of this offense, a person could be looking at ten (10) to 20 years in prison and a $200,000.00 fine.
Second degree manslaughter is the charge when a person recklessly causes the death of someone else. It can also be charged when a homicide is committed in the heat of passion. This means that the murder was caused by a reasonable provocation and without a reasonable chance for the person to “cool off.” We tend to think of these “crimes of passion” occurring when a husband discovers his wife cheating on him and he reacts…badly. A conviction for second degree manslaughter can result in a prison sentence of five (5) to ten (10) years and a $150,000.00 fine. Believe me: there is nothing funny about spending a decade in prison. And there is nothing funny about manslaughter. Unless a circus clown died – that’s hilarious.
Vehicular manslaughter occurs when a person’s reckless driving results in someone else’s death. This is often charged in drunk-driving cases, but it can also stem from speeding or reckless driving. Here, a conviction is also punishable by five (5) to ten (10) years in prison. Additionally, if convicted of vehicular manslaughter, a person could have his or her license suspended for two (2) years.
In all instances, manslaughter is subject to the NERA, which stipulates that a person convicted of manslaughter MUST serve no less than 85% of their sentence before becoming eligible for parole.
N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4 – Manslaughter Statute
a. Criminal homicide constitutes aggravated manslaughter when:
(1) The actor recklessly causes death under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life; or
(2) The actor causes the death of another person while fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer in violation of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:29-2. Notwithstanding the provision of any other law to the contrary, the actor shall be strictly liable for a violation of this paragraph upon proof of a violation of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:29-2 which resulted in the death of another person. As used in this paragraph, “actor” shall not include a passenger in a motor vehicle.
b. Criminal homicide constitutes manslaughter when:
(1) It is committed recklessly; or
(2) A homicide which would otherwise be murder under section 2C:11-3 is committed in the heat of passion resulting from a reasonable provocation.
c. Aggravated manslaughter under paragraph (1) of subsection a. of this section is a crime of the first degree and upon conviction thereof a person may, notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-6, be sentenced to an ordinary term of imprisonment between 10 and 30 years. Aggravated manslaughter under paragraph (2) of subsection a. of this section is a crime of the first degree. Manslaughter is a crime of the second degree.
Defending a Manslaughter Charge
Only a very select number of criminal defense attorneys have the knowledge, skill, and experience to successfully defend a homicide charge. The law offices of Carlos Diaz-Cobo has a proven track record of passionately handling these cases and getting acquittals or significantly downgraded resolutions.
The law offices of Carlos Diaz-Cobo is experienced and committed to successfully defending individuals accused of manslaughter. Call the Law Offices of Carlos Diaz-Cobo at 732-249-1125.