Manslaughter Defense

What is Manslaughter?

Just as a background, the Rhode Island law defines homicide in categories of first degree murder, second degree, and manslaughter. Manslaughter has its own subdivisions as well. There’s also criminal negligence theory that comes under manslaughter. Whereas murder is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice and forethought, manslaughter is significantly lesser than that. Murder calls for life; manslaughter penalty calls for a maximum of thirty years. Manslaughter involves a killing in the absence of malice and forethought. Usually in manslaughter cases you might have some sort of heated passion sort of case where the state does not allege that you intentionally tried to kill somebody or whatever the killing was, is in some meaningful way not excused, but lessened to what are referred to heated passion type of defenses. First degree murder involves premeditation; second degree murder does not involve premeditation but it does involve an intentional act to do a killing. Manslaughter doesn’t involve any intent by virtue of whatever the facts are to take it out of that intentional act category.

Why Do I Need an Attorney for a Manslaughter Charge?

There is no more serious offense that, I think, is contemplated by Rhode Island law than one in which a person has died. Even in a scenario in which a person is charged with manslaughter alone, doesn’t face a murder charge. Any time someone has died at the hands of another, our criminal justice system takes that entirely seriously. Anytime you have grave consequences of actions, you will have serious consequences under law.

What Would be the Legal Process When Handling a Manslaughter Charge?

A person facing a manslaughter charge, first of all, many have been charged initially with murder. If the charge was initially a murder charge, it may go to the grand jury. Manslaughter charges in any event, are felony matters that oftentimes, I would suggest most times, have come out of a grand jury process, unlike the vast majority of felonies which are charged by any information process. What that means is with a grand jury presentation, there are additional pieces of evidence or grand jury tapes that need to be reviewed by an attorney as well as the seriousness of the charge itself where a person’s life was lost.

Martineau Davis & Associates is committed to aggressive advocacy for our clients while maintaining the highest level of professionalism, integrity, and ethical standards. If you have been charged with a criminal offense, take a proactive stance to learn your rights from an experienced lawyer who will put the law on your side. Contact us at 401-398-8333.

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