Manslaughter Defense Attorney in Boston

Legal Definition of Manslaughter

According to Massachusetts law, manslaughter is the unlawful killing of another without premeditation and malice aforethought. “Unlawful” means that there is no legal justification for the killing. Killing a human being in self-defense is an example of a legal justification. While manslaughter is considered to be a less serious offense than murder, a conviction can result in a long prison sentence.

There are two basic classifications of manslaughter:

  • Voluntary Manslaughter – This crime occurs when an individual loses control because of some very strong provocation and kills another human being “in the heat of the moment.” Conviction of voluntary manslaughter could mean up to twenty year imprisonment.
  • Involuntary manslaughter – This crime is charged when a person is killed because of conduct which is reckless and shows a disregard for the safety of others, but there was no intention to cause serious physical injury or cause a death. Conviction of involuntary manslaughter carries a penalty of up to two and one-half years in prison.

Manslaughter: Penalties

In order to find out more detailed information regarding the crime of manslaughter, it is best to go straight to the source, the laws of the state. Massachusetts Law §265.13 (2011), states that if a person is found guilty of manslaughter, they will be sentenced to up to 20 years in state prison as well as fined up to $1,000. However, if a violation of owning or using an explosive device was present with the manslaughter incident, the convicted individual could instead be put in prison for life.

Massachusetts Law §265.131.5 gives information when manslaughter is committed while operating a moving vehicle. If someone died because of an avoidable accident, the individual who caused the accident could be sentenced to state prison for 5 to 20 years as well as fined up to $25,000. Vehicular manslaughter is commonly associated with drunk driving, and these cases are heavily prosecuted in court.

According to Massachusetts crime reports, 210 murder and non-negligent murders were recorded in the state during the year 2010. If you have recently been accused of this serious crime, our attorneys can help you comprise a strong defense that will stand up in state or federal court. We may be able to prove that you were acting out of self-defense for yourself or others, or that a false accusation was brought against you. In some cases, our legal team can show that there is not sufficient evidence to convict you of the crime without a shadow of a doubt. To learn more about your rights and how a Boston criminal lawyer can help, contact Keegan Law immediately. We offer a free case evaluation to help you determine the best course of action.

Defenses to Manslaughter Charges

While voluntary and involuntary manslaughter are very serious charges, as the defendant you are innocent until proven guilty and the burden of proof is on the prosecution. All that is needed is reasonable doubt regarding your culpability. Your best defense would be to have an alibi placing you somewhere other than the scene of the crime.

Short of an alibi, a common defense in manslaughter cases is self-defense. The defense would need to put forward the case that you as the defendant were fearing for your life when you attacked the deceased. While this can be difficult to prove, with a solid defense team on your side, you can be confident that the best possible approach will be taken.

How can I defend myself against voluntary manslaughter charges?

For voluntary manslaughter, since there was still an intent to harm in your charge, your defense attorney can argue that it was really an accident which caused the death. This would downgrade your charge to an involuntary manslaughter which carries a lesser penalty.

Another common defense strategy is to analyze your arrest and the subsequent criminal investigation. If there was any inappropriate behavior on the part of police or investigators, it could result in your charges being dropped. All law enforcement personnel must act according to code in putting their case against you together.

Contact our defense attorney as soon as charges are filed against you to get started on your defense!