When Does Manslaughter Occur In Louisiana?
The law views taking another person’s life as a very serious matter, regardless of how it happens. Still, some violent crimes that end up killing another person are considered more serious than others. One of these is manslaughter. Manslaughter is not considered as severe as murder, but anyone charged with the crime may still find themselves facing long prison sentences if they are convicted. If you have been accused of this serious crime, you need to speak to a Monroe violent crime lawyer today.
What is Manslaughter?
Manslaughter can occur in one of two ways in Monroe, and throughout Louisiana. The first is when a life is taken during a moment of passion. Heat of blood, or sudden passion, is caused by a provocation that is enough to deprive an average person of their cool and self-controlled reflection. This type of homicide cannot be premeditated. If a person has time to calm down and then takes the other person’s life, it is classified as murder and not manslaughter.
When a life is taken under certain circumstances, it is also sometimes considered manslaughter. These include when:
- The homicide occurred while the accused was committing a misdemeanor or felony that will not upgrade the charge to murder
- The accused resisted arrest and was not armed or inherently dangerous
If a homicide occurs during a rape, kidnapping, robbery, or other violent crime, the charge could be upgraded to murder depending on the facts of the case.
Penalties for Manslaughter
Although manslaughter is not considered as serious a crime as murder, it is still punishable by up to 40 years in prison with hard labor for those convicted. When a victim of manslaughter is a child under the age of ten years old, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in prison with hard labor. Judges do have the discretion to sentence a person to the full 40 years in these cases, depending on the nature of the crime. Regardless of the sentence, there is no possibility of probation or suspending the sentence when the victim is a child under the age of ten.
Defenses to Manslaughter Charges
Manslaughter is a very serious crime to be accused of, but there are defenses available. Perhaps the most common is that the homicide was a result of acting in self-defense because you were threatened with great bodily harm. You can also use self-defense when defending others, or when defending property such as a home, vehicle, or business.
Contact Our Experienced Violent Crime Lawyer in Monroe
Being charged with any violent crime is always alarming, but manslaughter charges should be taken particularly seriously. At Whiddon Criminal Defense, our Monroe violent crime lawyer has a thorough knowledge of the law and will use it to build the strong defense you need. Our seasoned attorney has helped many people fight the most serious of charges with great success, and we can help you, too. Call us now at 318-387-2776 or reach out to us online to schedule a free case review.