According to the state of Florida, manslaughter is any killing of a human being that does not fit the definition of murder. Unlike murder, manslaughter does not require premeditation or a reckless disregard for human life. Instead, the crime depends on whether voluntary or involuntary manslaughter was committed. While manslaughter is a less serious crime than murder, the penalties are still severe. Sentences can include paying exorbitant fines and spending decades in state prison.

If you or a loved one has been charged with manslaughter, you are likely worried about the consequences that could follow a conviction. Your family may not be able to survive if you are sent away, and your career may be completely destroyed. Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. appreciates how devastating this type of charge can be. With years spent as both a prosecutor and a defender, Sarasota manslaughter attorney Erika Valcarcel is uniquely qualified and dedicated to protecting your freedom. By utilizing her experience on both sides of the courtroom, attorney Valcarcel can anticipate the prosecution’s strategy in order to craft a winning defense.

Call (941) 363-7900 today to see how she can keep your record clean.

Voluntary vs. Involuntary Manslaughter

In Florida, two forms of manslaughter are recognized: voluntary and involuntary.

Voluntary Manslaughter

Voluntary manslaughter is a violent crime committed in the heat of the moment. The killing itself is intentional, but only after a provocation of some kind. In these cases, the prosecutor is required to prove that a sudden event or circumstance took place that inspired rage or another uncontrollable emotion. It must then be shown that these emotions led to the offender’s intent to kill that ultimately resulted in a person’s death. Further, it must be proven that the person’s actions were the cause of the victim’s death.

Involuntary Manslaughter

As the name suggests, involuntary manslaughter is not committed with the intent to kill. Instead, it is a crime committed with culpable negligence. According to Florida law, this type of negligence is defined as a total disregard for human life while engaging in a reckless behavior. This crime is often proved by pointing out that the person did not take precautions when handling a weapon or a dangerous object. In some cases, excessive force used during self-defense can lead to an involuntary manslaughter charge.

Florida Manslaughter Penalties

Interestingly, the standard penalties are the same for both voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. The severity of the sentence depends solely on the circumstances surrounding the crime. If a senior citizen or a child was killed, for example, the crime is considered to be aggravated, or more severe. This would result in much harsher penalties. The consequences for manslaughter include, but are not limited to:

  • Voluntary Manslaughter: Up to 15 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000; up to 30 years in state prison for aggravated voluntary manslaughter.
  • Involuntary Manslaughter: Up to 15 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000; up to 30 years in state prison for aggravated involuntary manslaughter.

A manslaughter conviction can also affect your life collaterally. Once you are released, it may be difficult to find employment. This is because most employers shy away from hiring people with criminal records. In addition, continuing your education may be postponed indefinitely. Colleges and universities vet all applicants, and most scholarships are unavailable to those who have criminal convictions.

Defending Against a Manslaughter Conviction

There are a number of effective defenses that a defense attorney can use to get your charges reduced or dismissed. In many cases, a person may have to use deadly force in order to protect against a felony being committed against them. Here, the killing can be written off as justifiable and your charges can be wiped out completely. It might also be the case that you are a victim of mistaken identity. Eyewitness testimony is unreliable, and it is possible that you were not involved in the crime.

Let Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. Protect Your Freedom

A manslaughter charge can impact every area of your life. From your career to relationships with loved ones, there is no aspect left unaffected. If you would like to defend your rights and preserve your freedom, call (941) 363-7900 now for a free consultation. Attorney Erika Valcarcel will work tirelessly to gather all of the details so that your case is presented in the best possible light. With the right defense, it is possible to get your charges reduced are eliminated entirely.