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Manslaughter

Manslaughter is the killing of another through culpable negligence. The first type of Manslaughter is Voluntary Manslaughter, which is the intentional killing of another during the heat of passion, or during a similar provoked state of mind. The second type of Manslaughter is Involuntary Manslaughter, which is the unintentional killing of another due to criminal negligence. Misdemeanor manslaughter is the unintentional killing of another while the killer is engaged in the act of committing a misdemeanor offense. To prove the criminal offense of Manslaughter, the State Attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim is dead, and that the criminal suspect intentionally caused the death of the victim, that the criminal suspect intentionally procured the death of the victim, or that the death of the victim was caused by the culpable negligence of the criminal suspect. However, the criminal suspect cannot be guilty of manslaughter if the killing was either justifiable or excusable homicide. In order to convict of manslaughter by intentional act, it is not necessary for the State Attorney to prove that the criminal suspect had a premeditated intent to cause death.

To “procure” means to persuade, induce, prevail upon, or cause a person to do something. “Culpable Negligence” is a legal term. Each person has a duty to act reasonably toward others. If there is a violation of that duty, without any conscious intention to harm, that violation is negligence. Culpable Negligence is more than a failure to use ordinary care toward others. In order for negligence to be culpable, it must be gross and flagrant. Culpable Negligence is a course of conduct showing reckless disregard of human life, or of the safety of persons exposed to its dangerous effects, or such an entire want of care as to raise a presumption of a conscious indifference to consequences, or which shows wantonness or recklessness, or a grossly careless disregard for the safety and welfare of the public, or such an indifference to the rights of others as is equivalent to an intentional violation of such rights. The negligent act or omission must have been committed with an utter disregard for the safety of others. Culpable Negligence is consciously doing an act or following a course of conduct that the criminal suspect must have known, or reasonably should have known, was likely to cause death or great bodily injury.

If the jury finds the criminal suspect guilty of manslaughter, the jury must then determine whether the State Attorney has further proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim was at the time an elderly person, a disabled adult whose death was caused by the neglect of the criminal suspect, or a caregiver, whether the victim was a child whose death was caused by the neglect of the criminal suspect, or a caregiver, and whether the victim was at the time an officer, a firefighter, an emergency medical technician, or a paramedic who was at the time performing duties that were within the course of his or her employment. The court instructs the jury that the victim is an officer, a firefighter, an emergency medical technician, or a paramedic. “Child” means any person under the age of 18 years. “Elderly person” means a person 60 years of age or older who is suffering from the infirmities of aging as manifested by advanced age, organic brain damage, or physical, mental, or emotional dysfunction, to the extent that the ability of the person to provide adequately for the person’s own care or protection is impaired. “Disabled adult” means a person 18 years of age or older who suffers from a condition of physical or mental incapacitation due to developmental disability, organic brain damage, or mental illness, or who has one or more physical or mental limitations that restrict the person=s ability to perform the normal activities of daily living. “Facility” means any location providing day or residential care or treatment for elderly persons or disabled adults. The term “facility” may include, but is not limited to, any hospital, training center, state institution, nursing home, assisted living facility, adult family-care home, adult day care center, group home, mental health treatment center, or continuing care community. “Caregiver” means a person who has been entrusted with or has assumed responsibility for the care or the property of an elderly person or a disabled adult. “Caregiver” includes, but is not limited to, relatives, court-appointed or voluntary guardians, adult household members, neighbors, health care providers, and employees and volunteers of facilities. “Caregiver” also means a parent, adult household member, or other person responsible for child welfare. Neglect of a child, an elderly person, or a disabled adult means a caregiver’s failure or omission to provide the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain a child’s, elderly person’s, or disabled adult’s physical and mental health, including, but not limited to, food, nutrition, clothing, shelter, supervision, medicine, and medical services that a prudent person would consider essential for the well-being of the child, elderly person, or disabled adult. Neglect also means a caregiver’s failure to make reasonable efforts to protect a child, an elderly person, or a disabled adult from neglect by another person. Repetitive conduct or a single incident or omission by a caregiver that results in or could reasonably be expected to result in a substantial risk of death of a child, elderly person, or disabled adult may be considered in determining neglect. “Firefighter” means any full-time duly employed uniformed firefighter employed by an employer, whose primary duty is the prevention and extinguishing of fires, the protection of life and property therefrom, the enforcement of municipal, county, and state fire prevention codes, as well as the enforcement of any law pertaining to the prevention and control of fires, who is certified by the Division of State Fire Marshal of the Department of Financial Services, who is a member of a duly constituted fire department of such employer or who is a volunteer firefighter. “Officer” means any person employed or appointed as a full-time, part-time, or auxiliary law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or correctional probation officer. “Emergency Medical Technician” means a person who is certified by the Department of Health to perform basic life support. “Paramedic” means a person who is certified by the Department of Health to perform basic and advanced life support. To prove the criminal violation of DUI Manslaughter, the State Attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the criminal suspect drove or was in actual physical control of a vehicle, that while driving or while in actual physical control of the vehicle, the criminal suspect was under the influence of alcoholic beverages, a chemical substance, or a controlled substance to the extent that his or her normal faculties were impaired, or had a blood or breath alcohol level of 0.08 or higher, and that as a result, the criminal suspect caused or contributed to the cause of the death of the victim. “Vehicle” is every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks. “Normal faculties” include but are not limited to the ability to see, hear, walk, talk, judge distances, drive an automobile, make judgments, act in emergencies and, in general, to normally perform the many mental and physical acts of our daily lives. “Actual physical control of a vehicle” means the criminal suspect must be physically in or on the vehicle and have the capability to operate the vehicle, regardless of whether he or she is actually operating the vehicle at the time. “Alcoholic beverages” are considered to be substances of any kind and description which contain alcohol. If the jury finds from the evidence that the criminal suspect had a blood or breath alcohol level of 0.05 or less, the jury shall presume that the criminal suspect was not under the influence of alcoholic beverages to the extent that his or her normal faculties were impaired. If the jury finds from the evidence that the criminal suspect had a blood or breath alcohol level in excess of 0.05 but less than 0.08, the jury may consider that evidence with other competent evidence in determining whether the criminal suspect was under the influence of alcoholic beverages to the extent that his or her normal faculties were impaired.

If the jury finds from the evidence that the criminal suspect had a blood or breath alcohol level of 0.08 or more, that evidence would be sufficient by itself to establish that the criminal suspect was under the influence of alcohol to the extent that his or her normal faculties were impaired. However, such evidence may be contradicted or rebutted by other evidence. These presumptions may be considered along with any other evidence presented in deciding whether the criminal suspect was under the influence of alcoholic beverages to the extent that his or her normal faculties were impaired. It is a defense to the charge of driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence if, at the time of the alleged offense, the vehicle was inoperable. However, it is not a defense if, while impaired, the criminal suspect drove or was in actual physical control of the vehicle before it became inoperable. Therefore, if the jury is not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the vehicle was operable at the time of the alleged criminal offense, then the jury should find the criminal suspect not guilty. However, if the jury is convinced that the vehicle was operable at the time of the alleged offense, then the jury should find the criminal suspect guilty if all other elements of the charge have been proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you have been arrested or criminally charged with Manslaughter or DUI Manslaughter, it would be advantageous to call a criminal defense attorney to discuss your rights as the defendant in a criminal law case. Criminal Defense Attorney Kenneth P. Hassett of Hassett and Associates, P.A. is an experienced criminal defense lawyer who has been practicing since 1991 in Miami Dade County, Fort Lauderdale, and Broward County. Criminal defense lawyers can consult with you to determine the best way to attempt to defeat the State Attorney’s criminal charges. Kenneth P. Hassett is a criminal lawyer who will fight to represent you in battling the criminal charges in your case. Call Hassett and Associates, P.A. 24 hours per day seven days per week for an immediate free consultation with a Manslaughter Defense Lawyer.

782.07 Manslaughter; aggravated manslaughter of an elderly person or disabled adult; aggravated manslaughter of a child; aggravated manslaughter of an officer, a firefighter, an emergency medical technician, or a paramedic.

Disclaimer

The information on this page does not represent legal advice. Florida Statues obtained from Online Sunshine, www.leg.state.fl.us, the official site of the Florida Legislature. Because the law is continually changing, some of the provisions contained herein may be out of date. It is always wise to seek counsel from an experienced criminal attorney like Kenneth Hassett.

If you have been charged as an Accessory After the Fact or a Principal in the First Degree to a criminal offense in Broward or Miami-Dade County, call Criminal Defense Attorney Kenneth P. Hassett.