Incidents that lead to the unintentional death of another person can result in criminal manslaughter charges with potentially life-changing repercussions. If you are facing manslaughter charges, you should contact an experienced Omaha manslaughter lawyer at Berry Law as soon as possible. One of our skilled criminal defense lawyers can evaluate the evidence in your case and help create a solid legal defense strategy on your behalf.
Any accident or situation that results in a death of another person is taken very seriously by prosecutors. As a result, these incidents often result in criminal charges, mainly if the conduct involved is criminally negligent or reckless. A dedicated homicide defense attorney can be vital in helping you fight your manslaughter charges.
How is Manslaughter Defined Under State Law?
Under Nebraska Revised Statutes §28-305, individuals commit the crime of manslaughter when they cause the death of another person without malice during a fight or if they unintentionally cause someone’s death while committing an unlawful act. If the actions that caused the death were criminally negligent, reckless, or in violation of the law, then prosecutors will usually charge the responsible person with manslaughter. If the individuals had any malice or intent to cause death to others, however, then the charge will not be manslaughter.
One example of manslaughter might include situations such as a bar fight that causes someone to sustain a fatal injury. A manslaughter charge would almost certainly follow since engaging in a fight can be evidence of criminally reckless behavior. Having an Omaha criminal defense attorney in your corner fighting for you can make a big difference when you are defending against manslaughter charges.
What is the Difference Between Voluntary and Involuntary Manslaughter?
Under Nebraska law, while murder can be charged as first-degree or second-degree, manslaughter is also divided into two categories – voluntary and involuntary. To prove a murder charge, the prosecutor must show the defendant acted with malice and intended to kill the victim. Manslaughter cases usually do not involve malicious actions.
Voluntary manslaughter is defined as intentionally killing someone without malice, for example, during an argument in the heat of the moment. Involuntary manslaughter can happen when someone acts criminally negligent or reckless without the actual intention of killing the other person, but the victim dies as a result of the criminal behavior.
Manslaughter may be punished by one to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000. Second-degree murder carries a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison up to a life sentence. First-degree murder can be punished by life in prison (Class IA) or death (Class I).
Is Motor Vehicle Homicide the Same as Manslaughter?
Motor vehicle homicide is a crime that is closely related to involuntary manslaughter. When drivers cause the death of others through a motor vehicle accident, they can face these charges. Neb. Rev. Stat. §28-306 states that individuals commit motor vehicle homicide when they unintentionally cause the death of another while driving in violation of state or local traffic laws.
Therefore, if a driver was impaired by drugs or alcohol when they caused a fatal accident, or if they were driving at a high rate of speed, or driving aggressively or recklessly, they could face motor vehicle homicide charges. Whether individuals are facing manslaughter or motor vehicle homicide charges, the penalties can be severe. There’s no time to waste if you’ve been charged with manslaughter or vehicle homicide, contact the dedicated Omaha legal team at Berry Law as soon as possible.
Understanding the Possible Penalties for Manslaughter and Related Offenses
Manslaughter is a felony and a conviction can result in a 20-year prison sentence. However, motor vehicle homicide is typically charged as a Class I misdemeanor offense. A conviction for a Class I misdemeanor crime, according to Neb. Rev. Stat. §28-106, can result in jail time, a fine, or both.
To complicate things more, if the proximate cause of the victim’s death is the result of the accused’s reckless driving, then the offense can be charged as a Class IIIA felony. Under Neb. Rev. Stat. §28-105, a conviction for a Class IIIA felony can result in three years in prison, plus 18 months of post-release supervision and a fine.
Likewise, if the victim’s death stems from impaired driving or driving with a revoked license, the offense can be enhanced to a Class IIA felony. Upon conviction for a Class IIA felony, the defendant can also face a revocation of their license for one to 15 years.
If the defendant has a prior DUI conviction or a history of driving with a revoked license, then the charges can be increased to a Class II felony. Defendants convicted of a Class II felony can be punished with a prison sentence of one to 50 years and a license revocation period of 15 years.
Berry Law’s Team Provides You With Multiple Attorney Perspectives
If You are Facing Manslaughter Charges, Contact an Omaha Manslaughter Attorney at Berry Law Today
Situations that result in the death of others tend to garner a great deal of public sympathy. As a result, prosecutors sometimes will file more severe criminal charges than warranted. If you are facing criminal charges for manslaughter, you should reach out to an Omaha manslaughter lawyer at Berry Law immediately.
With a strong legal advocate on your side, you can work toward reducing or minimizing the penalties that you may face. Together, we can reach a better outcome in your case. Contact Berry Law today.