MANSLAUGHTER DEFENSE EXPERTS
A MANSLAUGHTER CONVICTION CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
Not every killing is intentional. Each year, thousands of people die at the hands of another person accidentally. However, the fact that these deaths were accidental does not relieve the defendant of criminal responsibility. Instead, Ohio can charge a defendant who kills another person accidentally with manslaughter.
If you are facing a manslaughter charge, or if someone you care about has been picked up for manslaughter, you need an experienced manslaughter lawyer in Toledo in your corner. Contact Groth & Associates today.
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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MURDER & MANSLAUGHTER?
Murder is a much more serious crime and is defined as “purposely” causing the death of another person or fetus. For example, someone who shoots another person in a drive-by shooting can be convicted of murder. Murder carries a punishment of 15 years to life in prison.
Murder can also exist when someone dies as a result of another person committing or trying to commit a violent felony in the first or second degree. This is called “felony murder.” For example, someone who robs a store and accidentally shoots the clerk dead is guilty of murder as defined by Ohio Revised Code 2903.02.
Manslaughter is different. The key differences are the mental state of the defendant or the crimes they were committing when someone is accidentally killed. There are two types of manslaughter in Ohio: voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.
What is Voluntary Manslaughter?
According to ORC 2903.03, someone commits voluntary manslaughter when they kill another person under a fit of rage or sudden passion brought on by a serious provocation from the victim. It is similar to murder in that the killing is intentional. However, the victim provoked the defendant, so the law considers him or her less culpable for the murder.
Voluntary manslaughter is a felony in the first degree. It carries a maximum prison sentence of three to eleven years.
What is Involuntary Manslaughter?
Involuntary manslaughter is an accidental killing as a result of committing some crime, such as:
- A felony;
- A misdemeanor of any degree;
- A regulatory offense; or
- Other minor misdemeanors.
Involuntary manslaughter differs from felony murder in that the offense committed when death results is less serious than a violent felony. Involuntary manslaughter is a first- or third-degree felony, depending on whether the defendant was committing a felony or a lesser offense.
OTHER PRACTICE AREA CASES
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HOW A LAWYER CAN HELP
GET LESSER CHARGES OR EVEN HAVE YOUR CASE DISMISSED
As you can see, the dividing line between murder and manslaughter is not always clear. There are many questions that can crop up such as whether the defendant’s fit of rage was sufficiently serious to reduce a murder charge to voluntary manslaughter. Another question is whether the defendant was committing a violent felony, which would warrant a felony murder charge, or a lesser offense, which would warrant only an involuntary manslaughter charge.
These differences carry tangible consequences for our clients. They can make the difference between spending decades in jail or possibly only a few (or none at all). For this reason, defendants who can cast doubt on whether they intentionally killed someone can possibly plead to a lesser offense or get charges dismissed.
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WHAT TO DO IF ACCUSED OF MANSLAUGHTER
After causing someone’s death, you might be in shock. After all, you did not intend for the person to die. Maybe you simply got into a fistfight in a bar, or you accidentally poisoned someone when your business released chemicals into the water in violation of an environmental regulation. You know you did not intentionally kill someone; nevertheless, you face the possibility of years in jail.
Your first step is to avoid giving the police a voluntary statement. Any statements you make can be used against you at a trial, and you should not say anything you might regret. It is best to stand on your right to remain silent.
Second, you should not try to destroy evidence, which is itself an independent crime and will only make things work. Let the police investigate your home or business, if necessary.
Third, you should hire an experienced Toledo manslaughter lawyer. At Groth & Associates, we vigorously protect our client’s rights by forcing the prosecutor to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Many of our attorneys are former prosecutors who understand how the state builds cases against criminal defendants—and understand all the mistakes prosecutors and police can make. We want to put that knowledge to work for you.