Mankato Manslaughter Attorney

Manslaughter and homicide are two very different charges, but both are equally severe. Either way, charges as a result of killing another human being carry lasting sentences, though the terms may differ and the cases will be handled differently. Thus, it’s absolutely critical that you work with an exceptionally experienced manslaughter defense attorney.

The key difference between manslaughter and homicide is the state of mind the accused was in at the time of the crime. Generally speaking, manslaughter is a lesser crime than homicide. Manslaughter can be either voluntary or involuntary in nature.

Voluntary Manslaughter

Voluntary manslaughter, similar to homicide, indicates there was intent to murder another person. However, manslaughter is a different charge in that the murder wasn’t necessarily premeditated. For example, we often hear of “killing in the heat of passion.” This means the alleged killer didn’t originally intend to kill the victim, but was overwhelmed by emotion and committed a murder nonetheless. On the other hand, a homicide charge means the murder was intended and premeditated.

Involuntary Manslaughter

There are two variations of involuntary manslaughter charges. In general, involuntary manslaughter means the victim’s death was an accident. Minnesota defines involuntary manslaughter in the following ways: 

Manslaughter in the second degree means a person was killed as a result of unintended negligence. For example:

  • Negligence that created a reasonable risk, even though the chance of death was understood
  • Shooting another person in a hunting accident
  • Setting any kind of trap (like a snare) that killed a person
  • Allowing a known vicious animal (like a dog) to run loose
  • Neglecting or endangering a child unintentionally 

Criminal vehicular homicide is separate from murder or manslaughter. It refers to the death of a person as a result of:

  • Gross negligence
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Driving while under the influence of legal but hazardous medication
  • Causing an accident and then leaving the scene where the victim dies
  • Driving a car after you were told by a police officer that it needed maintenance; for example, you were pulled over for having your headlights out and didn’t fix them, later causing an accident resulting in a person’s death

As you can see, there are many complexities in manslaughter cases, whether voluntary or involuntary. That’s why it’s important to work with an attorney who understands these complexities and how each type of charge can be handled and subsequently sentenced.

Manslaughter Penalties in Minnesota

Manslaughter penalties are severe, but they do have limits. Minnesota allows for up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines in cases of involuntary or voluntary manslaughter. Ultimately, the decision is up to the judge. To determine a proper sentence, the judge will look at aggravating and mitigating factors. Aggravating factors, including the brutality of the crime and your criminal history, will make your sentence more severe. Mitigating factors, such as a lack of criminal history and your acceptance of responsibility, will make your sentence less severe. It’s your attorney’s job to discover as many mitigating factors as possible.

Our Highly Experienced Defense Attorneys

Knutson+Casey Law Firm in Mankato, provides effective and experienced representation for people facing manslaughter charges. We have ample experience in a variety of criminal defense cases, ranging in situation and severity. We strongly believe you deserve the right to a skilled defense team, regardless of the nature of your alleged crimes.

We go above and beyond to collect the evidence needed to help you fight your charges. Most importantly, we fight aggressively on behalf of our clients to get charges reduced, dismissed, or acquitted whenever possible. Protect your rights and your freedom by working with a legal team that knows how to get results. Contact us today for a free consultation.