Manslaughter is an act which leads to the death of another human being, but without the mental state – the intention to kill – which makes the crime murder. Acts committed unintentionally or in the ‘heat of passion’ may be considered manslaughter. Additionally, Florida law provides for defenses against the crime of manslaughter. Having an experienced lawyer who understands the legal nuances of the case and its defenses is critical.

General defenses

As in any case, the prosecution still needs to be able to show some basic facts – that the accused was responsible for the act in question; that the act in question was the reason for the death at issue. Unlikely defenses like insanity and accidentally intoxication are available as well. However, the particulars of manslaughter cases allow for certain specific defenses.

Accident

The crime of involuntary manslaughter is committed when the death occurred while the accused was acting recklessly. For example, someone throwing bricks off the roof of a building may not intend to hit someone in the head and kill them; they may not have any idea someone is there to be hit. However, that is the kind of thing which is likely to happen when throwing bricks off a roof! However, an accident defense makes the point that sometimes these things happen absent recklessness – someone who knocks over a loosely-stacked pile of bricks on a roof may not have been reckless at all. Sometimes accidents happen.

Self-defense

Florida allows “perfect” self-defense claims as a defense to manslaughter – a person can use lethal force if necessary to protect themselves and others. (In this case, “perfect” means that the self-defense was justified and reasonable – murder cases also allow an “imperfect” self-defense claim to reduce the murder charge to manslaughter.) Florida, of course, also has its famous ‘stand your ground’ law. In many situations, a person who could reasonably escape a situation without violence would be legally required to; in Florida, however, under certain circumstances, a person need not flee from their own house and can choose self-defense instead.

Call Khonsari Law Group Today to Speak with a St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney

Few charges are more important to successfully defend than manslaughter. Be sure to contact a law firm that has experience in this kind of case and equipped with the resources to fight for you. The Khonsari Law Group has spent years serving as criminal defense attorneys in the St. Petersburg and greater Tampa Bay area. If you have been charged with manslaughter, contact us today for a free, no-risk consultation at (727) 269-5300.