Manslaughter is defined in Florida Statute Section 782.07. In order to be convicted of Manslaughter, the State must prove:
- The victim is dead, and
- you intentionally committed an act or acts that caused the death of the victim, or
- you intentionally procured an act that caused the death of the victim, or
- the death of the victim was caused by your culpable negligence.
Culpable negligence is more than mere negligence. It rises to the level of gross and flagrant. A reckless disregard of human life, or of the safety of persons exposed to its dangerous effects, or such an entire want of care as to raise a presumption of a conscious indifference to consequences, or which shows wantonness or recklessness, or a grossly careless disregard for the safety and welfare of the public, or such an indifference to the rights of others as is equivalent to an intentional violation of such rights.
Culpable negligence is consciously doing an act or following a course of conduct that the defendant must have known, or reasonably should have known, was likely to cause death or great bodily injury.
It is up to the jury to decide whether your act rises to the level from mere negligence to culpable negligence. It is a common defense to manslaughter that the act was merely an accident or negligent, but did not rise to the level of gross negligence.
Yes. The State doesn't have to prove that you intended to kill the victim, only that you intended to commit the act that killed the victim. For example, if you got into a fight with a person and punched them and they fell and hit their head on the concrete and died; you intended to punch them, and therefore you could be prosecuted for manslaughter even though you didn't intend the result (the death).
Manslaughter is a Second Degree Felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Manslaughter in the course of neglect of a child is a First Degree Felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Manslaughter of an officer, firefighter, paramedic, or EMT is a First Degree Felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
The most common defense to a manslaughter charge is that the act was an accident or the result of mere negligence, rather than culpable negligence. Another common defense is self-defense (justifiable use of deadly force). There are many other possible defenses that may be specific to the facts of your case. Give us a call so we can discuss your potential defenses.
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