Manslaughter vs. Murder
If a person kills another person it is commonly called a homicide. Murder and manslaughter are both considered instances of homicide. The primary difference is that manslaughter does not involve a prior intent to kill, and first-degree murder does.
Because first-degree murder is premeditated, it is the most serious instance of homicide. If a person committing a felony or fleeing from a felony kills someone, it will likely be considered felony murder.
There are three classifications of manslaughter charges in New Jersey:
- Aggravated or aggravated by causing death while evading police
- Heat of passion
Each are lesser offenses than murder charges but can still result in fines and heavy sentencing.
Aggravated manslaughter is a first-degree charge indicating the defendant demonstrated an extreme indifference to someone’s life. Judges view the extent of indifference with an objective view, meaning they do not take into account how the defendant viewed the situation and to what extent they believed they were endangering another person.
Judges will determine if the defendant’s actions indicated a probability of causing death instead of presenting the simple possibility of death.
Someone can also be charged with aggravated manslaughter if someone is killed in their attempts to evade police. In this instance, the person charged likely had no intent for someone to be killed, but their actions in evading police resulted in someone’s death, increasing the severity of the charge.
Aggravated manslaughter can result in 10 to 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $200,000. Aggravated manslaughter convictions resulting from evading the police are a first-degree felony carrying a penalty of 10 to 20 years in prison.
A second-degree charge, reckless manslaughter indicates the defendant showed a conscious disregard for the risks involved in their actions that resulted in the death of another person.
Reckless manslaughter convictions are a second-degree felony that can result in five to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $150,000.
Heat of Passion Manslaughter
Judges may rule the defendant was in the heat of passion when the crime was committed, meaning they believe a reasonable person would have been extremely disturbed emotionally and reacted with violence in the situation. This means there was no premeditation and the defendant acted as a result of provocation.
Heat of passion manslaughter convictions are a second-degree felony carrying a five- to 10-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $150,000.
Hire a New Jersey Manslaughter Attorney
A manslaughter charge of any type can result in years in prison and substantial fines, so you need an experienced defense to fight for you each step of the way. Our team features former county prosecutors, and we are certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as criminal trial lawyers.
For a free consultation, contact Daniel M. Rosenberg & Associates through our website, or call (609) 216-7400. We’ll learn about your case and share ways we can provide a defense.