The terms murder and manslaughter are often incorrectly used interchangeably. Although the culmination of these crimes is the death of another person, there is a significant difference in the manner in which the act is completed. By definition, manslaughter is the unlawful killing of another person without malice aforethought. This means that manslaughter is typically the result of an accident, heat of passion, or another act in which the person does not have the mental capacity to commit a murder. If you face manslaughter charges in West Palm Beach, you are encouraged to discuss your charges with a competent defense attorney.
Voluntary Manslaughter in West Palm Beach
Voluntary manslaughter is a “heat of passion” crime in which a person who is strongly provoked kills in the heat of passion. This is an intentional murder that is not premeditated, and is thus considered less blameworthy than a murder. In order for the killing to be identified as voluntary manslaughter rather than murder, time must not have passed between the provocation and the murder during which the defendant could have had time to reflect upon the incident.
Another type of voluntary manslaughter occurs when a person persuades, induces, or encourages another to commit an act that results in the death of another person. The killing itself must not be planned, or else it would constitute a murder crime.
Voluntary manslaughter is a second degree felony offense for which a person may face up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Involuntary Manslaughter in West Palm Beach
Involuntary manslaughter or manslaughter by culpable negligence, is when a death occurs because of one’s complete disregard for human life while engaging in wanton or reckless behavior. This is an unintentional homicide that results from criminally reckless or grossly negligent conduct.
DUI manslaughter in West Palm Beach is one type of involuntary manslaughter in which a person under the influence of drugs and/ or alcohol killed another person without meaning to while driving. DUI manslaughter like other manslaughter crimes is a serious second degree felony offense for which one can face up to 15 years in prison and a heavy fine.
If a weapon was used to complete either voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, or the crime involved the killing of a person 65 or older, a child under 18, or a disabled adult, or a police officer, firefighter, or emergency medical technician, a manslaughter charge can be enhanced to aggravated manslaughter, which is a first degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Although the Florida Statutes do not differentiate between voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, the distinction heavily influences the judge’s perception of the facts surrounding your case and sentencing. This is where the dedication of a competent manslaughter attorney in West Palm Beach can work in your favor. Attorney Brian Gabriel has over 25 years of experience defending violent criminal offenses. Call 561-622-5575 or contact The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel online for a free consultation.