Dedicated Attorney Offering Services to Fargo-Moorhead Residents Facing Manslaughter Charges
North Dakota law defines manslaughter as recklessly causing the death of another human being, and designates manslaughter as a Class B felony that carries punishment of up to 10 years’ imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines. State courts have the power to to pronounce lesser sentences based on the facts of any particular case.
A key element of manslaughter is that it doesn’t involve malice aforethought—that is, the intent to seriously harm or kill, or extreme, reckless disregard for life. Because of this, manslaughter is generally considered less morally blameworthy than either first or second degree murder, which carry higher penalties.
Manslaughter is categorized as either voluntary or involuntary.
Voluntary manslaughter occurs when a person is strongly provoked (in a way that a reasonable person could understand) and kills in the heat of passion because of that provocation. The “heat of passion” is caused when the person charged doesn’t have enough time to “cool off” from the provocation, and the act is blamed on emotional extremity and human weakness. Discussions of voluntary manslaughter often involve a husband who immediately kills his wife’s lover in the heat of passion when he catches them committing adultery.
Involuntary Manslaughter vs. Second Degree Murder
Involuntary manslaughter happens as an unintentional homicide caused by criminally negligent or reckless conduct, or while a misdemeanor crime is being committed.
Because an accidental killing through extreme recklessness can constitute second-degree murder, many involuntary manslaughter trials center on a defense against prosecutors trying to pursue a more severely punished second-degree murder case against a defendant. The mental state of the defendant is key, and there’s an entire body of law dedicated to fully understanding how these cases should be tried.
Deaths caused by reckless driving or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are two of the most common instances of involuntary manslaughter. But if the death happens after a defendant has been convicted several times before for drunk driving, a judge or jury might convict him of second-degree murder.
If you or a loved one is charged with either voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, it’s imperative to get legal help right away.
Experience You Can Depend On—Knowledge You Can Rely On
At O’Day Law Office, PC, we put the insight from 29 years of criminal defense trial experience to work for you to make sure you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. We pride ourselves on both fully understanding your circumstances and close scrutinizing state’s evidence as a way of creating an effective strategy in your defense.
O’Day Law Office, PC offers defense attorney services to people in the Fargo-Moorhead metro area who are charged with manslaughter. Call our office today at (701) 298-9326 for a free case evaluation.