Manslaughter is one of the homicide charges a person can face in New Jersey. There are different types of manslaughter and serious penalties for a conviction.
Understanding manslaughter charges
Manslaughter is a charge a person can face if they cause the death of another person due to recklessness. A person can also be arrested on criminal charges if they cause someone else’s death while in the heat of passion. Unlike murder, which involves malice during the killing, manslaughter is charged in the second degree due to the lack of intent.
In a case involving recklessness, the prosecution would have to prove that the defendant showed disregard for the substantial risk of death. They would have to also prove that negligence was not the cause of death; negligence is not grounds for a manslaughter charge in New Jersey.
If the killing was done in the heat of passion, the prosecution would have to prove that the defendant’s actions were extreme to the point where any other reasonable person would not have reacted the same way in the same or similar circumstances.
Penalties for manslaughter
If a person is convicted of manslaughter, they can face 10 to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $150,000. However, for aggravated manslaughter, which is handed down for showing extreme indifference to human life or when causing death while fleeing police, the penalties include 10 to 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $200,000.
Defenses to manslaughter
There are different defenses to manslaughter charges. One of the most common is self-defense, which insinuates that the defendant’s actions were justified. Another defense is mistaken identity as the defendant can argue that they were not the person who committed the crime.
Insanity is another common defense to manslaughter. If it can be proven in a case, the defendant might be able to elude a conviction.
Manslaughter charges can be life-changing even without a conviction. People might look at you differently as there might be a stigma.