Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer with Experience
If you are facing a manslaughter charge in Denver, CO, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to provide you with adequate representation. Mastro, Barnes & Stazzone P.C. has the legal knowledge to help defend you against a charge of this nature. We understand that facing a serious criminal case can be a difficult and confusing time. That’s why we’re here to offer support and guidance to our clients to help them receive the best possible outcome. It’s important that you act quickly in these legal situations so that we have adequate time to review your case and prepare a defense. Please reach out to our team today to schedule a consultation where we can discuss your situation.
What is Manslaughter?
Under Colorado law, manslaughter is considered a form of homicide that is less severe than murder. A person can be charged with manslaughter if they recklessly cause the death of another person or intentionally aid or cause a person to commit suicide. Intent plays a significant role in determining whether an act is considered manslaughter or murder.
Primary Differences Between Manslaughter & Other Charges
As mentioned above, the primary difference between manslaughter and other homicide charges is your intention when committing the act. The legal system also takes into account your level of awareness of the risk of death when determining a manslaughter charge. Both of these factors play a vital role in how crimes are charged, prosecuted, and punished in the state of Colorado. We’ll go over the details of each charge below:
Manslaughter: In a charge of manslaughter, the accused is said to have recklessly caused the death of another individual. You do not have to intend to kill someone to be charged with manslaughter. If you acted recklessly, meaning you knew the risk of causing death, but still chose to engage in the risky act anyway, and caused the death of another, you could be charged with manslaughter. This is also sometimes referred to as involuntary manslaughter.
Second Degree Murder: This is charged when the killing is intentional but not premeditated. You can be charged with second-degree murder if you knowingly act with the intent to kill or know that death is practically certain as a result of your actions. Previously, there was a second form of manslaughter in Colorado known as voluntary manslaughter or “heat of passion” manslaughter. This act is now classified as second-degree murder under Colorado law.
Criminally Negligent Homicide: While in the two other charges the accused must be aware of the risk of their actions, a charge of criminally negligent homicide does not require this. If you fail to perceive the risk of death involved in your actions, and someone is killed as a result, you can be charged with criminally negligent homicide.
Aiding a Suicide is Considered Manslaughter in Colorado
The state of Colorado considers it manslaughter if you intentionally cause another person to commit suicide or assist in their suicide either by providing the means or encouragement for the act. The only exception to this is for medical caregivers. You are not guilty of aiding a suicide if you withhold care or medication when following the orders of an advanced medical directive, a durable medical power of attorney, a living will, or CPR directive.
What Are the Punishments for a Manslaughter Conviction?
The penalties of a manslaughter charge, if convicted, will vary depending on the specifics of your case. In the state of Colorado, manslaughter can be punished with a prison sentence of two to six years as well as a fine ranging from $2,000 to $500,000.
Possible Defenses for a Manslaughter Charge
In order to build the best defense for a manslaughter charge, you need the help of an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer. The team at Masto, Barnes & Stazzone P.C. will be able to review your case and determine the best way to proceed in your defense. We are here to look out for the best interests of our clients to help ensure they receive a fair outcome. Some possible defenses for a manslaughter charge include:
The death was an accident: If the death was an accident and did not result from an action with disregard for the risk of death, you are not guilty of manslaughter. This could include a hunting accident, a vehicle accident by a sober driver, and other accidental causes.
You were attempting to defend yourself or others: If your actions were due to a reasonable fear for your safety or the safety of others, you are not guilty of manslaughter.
You have diminished capacity or suffer from mental illness: If you can prove you have a mental illness that limits your ability to distinguish right from wrong or prevents from forming a culpable mental state, you can use an insanity defense.
You were mistakenly identified: If you can prove that the eyewitness testimony that places you at the scene is biased or unreliable, you may be able to show that you were mistakenly identified and thus not guilty.
There is proof of police misconduct: Police and prosecutors must follow certain rules of conduct when investigating crimes. If you can prove that either party violated these rules and your rights, you can be acquitted.
Schedule a Case Review
You must act quickly if you want to build an appropriate defense strategy for your manslaughter charge in Colorado. Please reach out to the team at Mastro, Barnes & Stazzone as soon as possible to schedule a case review.
We Can Help
Choose a criminal defense attorney who has experience defending this serious charge. At Mastro, Barnes & Stazzone we help protect our client’s rights. If you or a loved one has been charged, we can help. The law firm of Mastro, Barnes & Stazzone has experience handling cases involving Murder.
When choosing a criminal defense attorney who handles serious felony offenses like Murder, make sure that attorney knows the Judge, the District Attorney, and strategies that are necessary to effectively represent you or your loved one. Offenses involving Murder are felony offenses and are “Crimes of Violence.” In Colorado, “Crimes of Violence” trigger mandatory sentences upon conviction.