When a person dies or is killed in Florida as a result of another person’s action, the person responsible for the death may be charged with Murder or the lesser charge of Manslaughter. Both crimes are homicides. The distinction lies in the defendant’s intent, and the way in which the death takes place.
Under the Florida Statutes, Title XLVI, Chapter 782, § 782.07, Manslaughter is “the killing of a human being, by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another, without lawful justification.”
Manslaughter is a second-degree felony in Florida, punishable by a prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000. Manslaughter is elevated to a first-degree felony under certain conditions, doubling the potential maximum prison sentence.
Lawyers for Manslaughter in Brevard County, FL
If you were arrested for Manslaughter in Melbourne or Brevard County, Florida, or anywhere along Florida’s Space Coast, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy who can explain the important legal issues involved. Your freedom may hang in the balance.
The knowledgeable lawyers at Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy have many years of experience defending people against all kinds of violent crime charges, including homicide and manslaughter.
Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy thoroughly investigates all criminal charges against its clients and aggressively defends its clients throughout Brevard County, including Melbourne, Titusville, Cocoa, and Palm Bay, as well as Volusia County, Seminole County, Orange County, Osceola County, and Indian River County, FL.
Call (321) 253-3447 to contact the qualified Melbourne criminal defense attorneys at Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy today to discuss your Manslaughter charges.
Brevard County Information Center for Manslaughter Charges
- What Elements Must Be Proved for a Manslaughter Conviction in Brevard County?
- What are the Definitions of Terms Related to Manslaughter?
- What are the Possible Penalties for a Manslaughter Conviction?
- What are Possible Defenses for a Manslaughter Charge?
- Additional Resources
What Elements Must Be Proved for a Manslaughter Conviction in Brevard County, FL?
Under the Florida Statutes, Title XLVI, Chapter 782, § 782.07 and the Standard Jury Instructions for Criminal Cases No. 7.7 issued by the Florida Supreme Court, to prove the crime of Manslaughter, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim is dead and the defendant either:
- Intentionally committed an act or acts that caused the death of the victim;
- Intentionally procured an act that caused the death of the victim; or
- The death of the victim was caused by the defendant’s culpable negligence
Some of the terms referred to above have legal definitions in the Florida Statutes and/or the Florida Supreme Court’s jury instructions, as quoted below:
Intent: If a defendant is proved to have intentionally committed an act or acts that caused the death of the victim, it is not necessary for the State of Florida to prove that the defendant had an intent to cause death, only an intent to commit an act that was not merely negligent, justified, or excusable and which caused death.
Procure: To “procure” means “to persuade, induce, prevail upon or cause a person to do something.”
Negligence: “Each of us has a duty to act reasonably toward others. If there is a violation of that duty, without any conscious intention to harm, that violation is ‘negligence.’ “
Justifiable Homicide: The killing of a human being is “justifiable homicide” and lawful if necessarily done while resisting an attempt to murder or commit a felony upon the defendant, or to commit a felony in any dwelling house in which the defendant was at the time of the killing.”
Excusable Homicide: The defendant cannot be guilty of manslaughter if he or she merely committed a negligent act or if the killing was either justifiable or excusable homicide. If a death is excusable, it is, therefore, lawful under F.S. § 782.03 when the killing:
- Is committed by accident and misfortune in doing any lawful act by lawful means with usual ordinary caution and without any lawful intent; or
- Occurs by accident and misfortune in the heat of passion, upon any sudden and sufficient provocation; or
- Is committed by accident and misfortune resulting from a sudden combat, if a dangerous weapon is not used and the killing is not done is a cruel or unusual manner
Any crime that involves the death of another person is treated harshly under the law.
Florida law states that Manslaughter is a second-degree felony when “excusable homicide or murder” is not a defense. The charges are elevated to a first-degree felony if a person causes a manslaughter death by culpable negligence to certain classes of victims, including an elderly or disabled adult, a person under the age of 18 years, or a law enforcement officer.
Florida’s penalties for manslaughter are extremely severe. A second-degree felony conviction for manslaughter is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000. A first-degree felony manslaughter conviction has the potential to double the prison sentence (up to 30 years), while also imposing a fine of up to $10,000.
Manslaughter is a serious charge, but sometimes the facts of a particular case are in dispute. When a full dismissal of charges may not be possible, lesser charges may be more appropriate. Some of the lesser charges that may result from a manslaughter investigation include:
- Vehicular Homicide (F.S. § 782.071)
- Vessel Homicide (F.S. § 782.072)
- Attempted Manslaughter (F.S. § 777.04(1))
- Aggravated Assault (F.S. § 784.021)
- Battery (F.S. § 784.03)
- Assault (F.S. § 784.011)
- Culpable Negligence (F.S. § 784.05)
Depending on the circumstances of your case, a qualified criminal defense attorney in Florida may be able to negotiate a charge of manslaughter down to a less serious charge.
Florida Statutes, Title XLVI, Chapters 782, § 782.07 — Homicide (Manslaughter) — Read the section of the Florida statutes related to manslaughter.
Florida Supreme Court, Standard Criminal Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases 7.7 (Manslaughter) — Find a link to the exact instructions that are delivered to juries in manslaughter cases in Florida.
Find an Attorney for Manslaughter Charges in Brevard County, FL
If you were arrested for Manslaughter in or around Melbourne, Florida, you should seek the advice of a local attorney experienced in defending people against serious felony charges.
The dedicated attorneys at Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy are prepared to represent you and aggressively defend you. We may be able to introduce evidence that results in a dismissal of charges or negotiate for a reduction of charges.
At Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, we represent people along Florida’s Space Coast, including the Brevard County communities of Melbourne, Palm Bay, Titusville, Cocoa, and Rockledge, as well as neighboring Indian River, Osceola, Orange and Volusia counties. We always work for the best possible results, and we will challenge the evidence, or the arrest itself.
Call us today at (321) 253-3447 to schedule a free consultation with one of our dedicated criminal defense lawyers.