The crime of manslaughter is a felony under both state and federal law. Manslaughter takes two forms: voluntary and involuntary. Under federal law, it is characterized in both forms. Under Florida State law, it is characterized as manslaughter or aggravated manslaughter. Generally, manslaughter is the crime of killing a human being without “malice aforethought,” or otherwise in circumstances not amounting to murder. For example, the killing of another during a physical altercation where the killing was not specifically intended before the altercation would be a form of manslaughter.

Under federal law, manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice. It is of two kinds: Voluntary—Upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion; or Involuntary—In the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to a felony, or in the commission in an unlawful manner, or without due caution and circumspection, of a lawful act which might produce death within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

To be convicted under Federal law of voluntary manslaughter, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following: 1. the defendant intentionally inflicted an injury upon another person from which the other person died; and 2. was committed without justification or excuse. Conviction of this offense in federal court is a felony and is punishable by a fine and/or a term of imprisonment not to exceed 15 years.

To be convicted under federal law of involuntary manslaughter, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following: 1. that the defendant inflicted injuries upon the deceased from which the deceased died; 2. that the defendant acted with wanton and reckless disregard for human life; 3. that the defendant was at the time committing an unlawful act not amounting to a felony; 4. that the defendant knew that his conduct was a threat to the lives of others or had knowledge of the circumstances as could have enabled him to reasonably foresee the peril to which his act might subject others; and 5. that it occurred within the special maritime or territorial jurisdiction of the United States. Conviction of this offense in federal court is a felony and is punishable by a fine and/or a term of imprisonment not to exceed 8 years.

Under Florida state law, manslaughter is the killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another, without lawful justification in which such killing shall not be excusable homicide or murder.

To be convicted under Florida law of manslaughter, the state must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that: 1 the victim is dead; and 2. the defendant intentionally committed an act or acts that caused the death of the victim; or the defendant intentionally procured an act that caused the death of the victim; or the death of the victim was caused by the culpable negligence of the defendant.

Conviction of this offense is a felony of the second degree and is punishable by a fine not to exceed $10,000 and/or a term of imprisonment not to exceed 15 years. If it is aggravated manslaughter, it is a felony of the first degree and is punishable by a fine not to exceed $10,000 and/or a term of imprisonment not to exceed 30 years.

Attorney Petruzzi has years of experience defending those charged with manslaughter. It is important for one to hire an experienced attorney when faced with these types of charges. Attorney Petruzzi’s knowledge and expertise in this field of law is a vital asset to anyone charged with this crime. Call today for a free consultation.