Manslaughter is among the most often misinterpreted offenses in the Florida State Statutes. S. 782.07 outlines the misunderstood offense of manslaughter, aggravated manslaughter of an elderly person or disabled adult, aggravated manslaughter of a child, and aggravated manslaughter of an officer, a firefighter, an emergency medical technician or a paramedic.
As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know, according to the statute, one commits manslaughter if they, through culpable negligence and without lawful justification for doing so, kill another individual. Basically, if you are acting in a reckless manner without a legitimate reason for doing so, and you injure and kill someone as a result of your actions, you could be charged with manslaughter; even though you didn’t intend to kill anyone, someone died as a proximate result of your negligence. If convicted of manslaughter, a second-degree felony, you face up to $10,000.00 in fines and/or 15 years in prison.
It’s important to know that the above definition of manslaughter has many caveats, as described below. These necessitate a specific understanding of the statute in reference to the case in which it is being applied. The state of the victim (i.e. their age, medical situation and/or profession) can alter the extent to which a defendant is punished if convicted. The three examples of theoretical manslaughter described below are all felonies of the first degree, which means they are punishable by up to $10,000.00 in fines and/or up to 30 years in prison.
- A person who causes the death of an elderly person or a disabled adult by culpable negligence commits aggravated manslaughter of said elderly person or disabled adult;
- A person who causes the death of anyone under the age of 18 by culpable negligence commits aggravated manslaughter of a child; and
- A person who causes the death, through culpable negligence, of an officer, a firefighter, an EMT or a paramedic, while the officer, firefighter, EMT or paramedic is performing duties that are within the course of his or her employment, commits an aggravated manslaughter of said individual.
Manslaughter is a serious crime and, as noted above, depending on the circumstances of the incident, you could face decades in prison (not to mention thousands and thousands of dollars in fines and other fees) if convicted. Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that the key to understanding the threat of a manslaughter arrest, charge and conviction is realizing that all it takes is one mistake; the ending of somebody’s life in an incident of manslaughter does not require there having been planning or even passing thoughts of killing the person. The fact is that if somebody dies as a result of your reckless behavior, you might very well be charged with manslaughter.
If you have been arrested for or charged with manslaughter in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, please call us at 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363) to schedule a free consultation with one of our criminal defense lawyers. We look forward to helping you.