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Federal Manslaughter

Although state law prohibits and criminalizes manslaughter, federal prosecutors can also file charges in certain situations. Federal charges tend to have much harsher consequences than their state counterparts, so if you have been charged with manslaughter, you should contact an experienced federal crimes attorney who can ensure that your rights are protected.

Types of Manslaughter

Manslaughter is defined as the killing of a human being without malice. There are two main types of manslaughter: voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. Voluntary manslaughter is charged in situations where a death occurred during a sudden fight or during the heat of passion. To be convicted of federal voluntary manslaughter, the prosecutors must prove that:

  • The defendant unlawfully killed the victim;
  • While in a sudden quarrel or heat of passion caused by adequate provocation, or the defendant intentionally killed the victim or acted recklessly with extreme disregard for human life; and
  • The case falls under federal jurisdiction.

Heat of passion can be provoked by specific emotions, including:

  • Fear;
  • Rage;
  • Anger; or
  • Terror.

However, in order to support a charge of manslaughter, the provocation must be so severe that it would cause a reasonable person to take someone else’s life. To be convicted of committing involuntary manslaughter, on the other hand, prosecutors must establish that:

  • The defendant completed an act that could result in death;
  • The defendant was grossly negligent, or acted with recklessness;
  • The defendant proximately caused the victim to lose his or her life, which means that the defendant’s actions played a substantial role in causing the death;
  • Causing the loss of life was illegal;
  • The defendant knew that the conduct was dangerous to others or was aware of facts that would allow him or her to predict that the conduct would put others at risk; and
  • The case falls under federal jurisdiction.

Those who are convicted of federal voluntary manslaughter face a 15 year prison sentence, while those who are found guilty of committing involuntary manslaughter may spend up to eight years in prison.

If a defense attorney can provide sufficient evidence to convince a judge or a jury, a defendant’s murder charges can be reduced to manslaughter charges. This is often in a defendant’s best interest, as manslaughter carries much less severe penalties than murder. For this reason, it is especially critical for those who have been charged with murder to speak with an experienced attorney who may be able to get their charges reduced or even dismissed.

Call a Dedicated Florida Federal Crimes Attorney Today

Being convicted of a serious federal offense can lead to jail time, expensive fines, and the creation of a permanent criminal record. Retaining an experienced attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of a case, so if you have been charged with murder or manslaughter, please contact one of the skilled federal crimes attorneys at Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. Criminal Defense Attorneys by calling (305) 670-9919 today. You can also reach us by sending a brief message or by initiating a live chat with a member of our legal team.

Resource:

law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1112

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