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Criminal Defense - Manslaughter Defense

Charged with manslaughter in Connecticut?

If you have been arrested or are under investigation for manslaughter, we are here to help. Our criminal defense trial lawyer understands the severity of these charges, and our team is committed to providing top-notch legal defense. Regardless of the specifics of your case, there is one thing you can be sure of: the prosecution has already begun building a case against you. The longer you wait to hire a defense attorney, the less likely it is that you will be able to clear your name.

Any crime that involves a loss of life is nothing to be taken lightly. When it comes to manslaughter, murder, and homicide charges you need an attorney who can give you honest, straightforward answers. You also need an advocate who is fully dedicated to getting your charges dismissed or reduced or seeking an acquittal.

We do not assume that just because the prosecution filed manslaughter charges that they have sufficient evidence to land a conviction. We have a record of success and will work to prove that our client was innocent or that the act was justifiable because it was made in self-defense. If you have been charged with manslaughter or any other serious violent crime, we stand ready to challenge the evidence against you.

 

Murder vs. Manslaughter

According to the Connecticut Code Section 53a-55, manslaughter in the first degree is categorized as a class B felony. This crime stands apart from murder because the killing was done in the heat of the moment  – stemming from reckless conduct, severe emotional disturbance or provocation, or indifference to human life. When the incident involves pre-meditated intent to take someone else’s life, the loss of life is considered a murder.

 

Penalties for Manslaughter

Most states classify manslaughter as either voluntary or involuntary and assign sentences based on that. However, Connecticut instead places emphasis on the degree of violence used and whether the killing was reckless or negligent. For example, if the defendant meant to seriously harm an individual and accidentally took their life, it would be punished more harshly than if the defendant had been driving a motor vehicle negligently and struck the victim by accident. An outline of the different degrees of manslaughter is outlined below.

First Degree Manslaughter

This offense is a Class B felony, and is punishable by 1-20 years in prison. A person is guilty of manslaughter in the first degree when:

(a) With intent to cause serious physical injury to another person, they cause the death of such person or of a third person

(b) with intent to cause the death of another person, they cause the death of such person or of a third person under circumstances which do not constitute murder because they committed the act(s) under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance, which reduces murder to first degree manslaughter

(c) under circumstances demonstrating an extreme indifference to human life, they recklessly engage in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to another person, and thereby cause the death of another person.

First Degree Manslaughter with a Firearm

This is also a Class B Felony, but this offense comes with a mandatory minimum, non-suspendible 5-year prison sentence, and a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. One may be charged with this crime if they commit first degree manslaughter as defined above, and during the course of the act they are armed with, display, or threaten the use of a firearm.

Second Degree Manslaughter

Manslaughter in the second degree is a Class C felony and is punishable by 1-10 years in prison. A person is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree when:

(A) they recklessly cause the death of another person

(B) they intentionally cause or aid another person – other than by force, duress or deception – to commit suicide.

Second Degree Manslaughter with a Firearm

This is also a Class C Felony, but this offense comes with a mandatory minimum, non-suspendible 1-year prison sentence. One may be charged with this crime if they commit second degree manslaughter as defined above, and during the course of the act they are armed with, display, or threaten the use of a firearm.

Second Degree Manslaughter with a Motor Vehicle

person is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle when, while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or a drug, they cause the death of another person as a consequence of the effect of the substance(s). This is a Class C felony punishable by a 1-year license suspension and 2 subsequent years of only being able to drive vehicles with an approved ignition interlock device. However, this crime often additionally entails a prison term of 10-16 months, with the maximum sentence being 10 years. A lesser version of this charge is the Class D felony misconduct with a motor vehicle, in which the accused was not aware of the risks associated with their actions and, therefore, is not punished as harshly. This Class D felony is punishable by a maximum 5 years in prison, which can be greatly reduced or eliminated with help from a criminal lawyer.

Criminally Negligent Homicide

This is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in prison, charged when the accused causes the death of another person due to criminal negligence (not applicable if the defendant caused such death by a motor vehicle). Criminal negligence is defined as: the failure to use reasonable care to avoid acting in a manner that foreseeably threatens the safety of the public.

 

Hamden Murder and Manslaughter Defense

It is critical to note that if you go to court unprotected and unprepared, you could be facing the maximum sentence for manslaughter. Do not leave your future freedom at risk! Our team can do a thorough investigation into your case and can challenge any physical or medical evidence the prosecution may have. We always do our best to close a case without going to court, but we do not hesitate if we need to take your case to trial. Let us help you avoid serious criminal penalties and a felony conviction. Contact Michael Dolan here at Dolan Law Firm to find out how we can help you build an impenetrable defense.