If You Have Are Facing A Manslaughter Charge In Colorado
When a person is charged with killing another person, the law often takes into account the different reasons why the accused may have committed the crime. The two main charges that a person can face are manslaughter and murder. However, even for these two crimes, there law usually considers the degree of heinousness within which the crime was committed.
If you have been accused of killing someone, it is important to understand the main differences between murder and manslaughter.
Often Charged In An Accidental Killing
A manslaughter charge is usually generally associated when there has been an accidental killing. Most states across the US usually classify manslaughter as either voluntary or involuntary. However, in the State of Colorado, when a person is charged with manslaughter, it is usually classified either as manslaughter or second-degree murder.
Murder on the other hand is usually divided into two degrees namely:
- First Degree Murder – This is the type of murder that is best descried as “a cold blood killing”. In this type of murder, the killer usually has premeditated the killing in such a way that it cannot be descried as a crime of passion or an accidental killing. There are other types of murders that are usually classified as ‘First Degree Murders’ such as killings that involve torture or rape before the victim is eventually put to death.
- Second Degree Murder – This type of murder usually falls in between first degree murder and the first manslaughter level. In this type of murder, the killer usually kills their victim intentionally but without carrying out any prior planning on how they are going to commit the act. Though this type of murder is not usually a crime carried out in the heat of the passion, there is usually a degree of recklessness in how the killer acted so as to cause the death of the victim.
According to the laws in the State of Colorado Revised Statute 18-3-104 (1), a person will be considered to have committed manslaughter if they:
- Act recklessly and in the process cause the death of another person
- Intentionally help another person to commit suicide
- Intentionally causes another person to commit suicide
- When Can a Person Be Charged with Reckless Manslaughter?
A person can be charged with causing a death recklessly if they acted in a manner where there was an unjustifiable or high risk of death to the victim but despite being aware of the risk of the victim dying, one still goes ahead with the actions that result in the death of the victim.
Note that a person can still be guilty even if they did not intend to cause the death of another person. All that the prosecution needs to prove is that you knowingly engaged in actions that led to the death of another person while being aware that your actions could lead to the fatality.
When Can You Be Charged with Manslaughter for Aiding in a Suicide?
“Aiding” a person to commit suicide means that you provide the means for the deceased to commit suicide. However, if you actively help the deceased to commit suicide, the crime usually changes from being manslaughter to murder.
In Colorado, you can be charged with manslaughter in a suicide case in the following instances:
- If you intentionally carry out actions that cause another person to commit suicide
- You help a person to commit suicide either by encouraging their actions or providing the means for them to commit suicide
What Other Types of Manslaughter Charges Can a Person be Charged With in Colorado?
There are other types of manslaughter charges recognized by Colorado laws including:
- Manslaughter for a killing that occurs in the sudden heat of passion
- Vehicular Manslaughter
What is the Punishment for Manslaughter in Colorado?
If you are charged with manslaughter in Colorado Springs or surrounding communities, you can be handed a jail term that ranges from 2 to 6 years to be subsequently followed with 3 years of mandatory parole once you are released. In addition to the jail term, you can also be fined as much as $500,000 depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime that you committed.
If you have been charged with manslaughter, there are many possible defenses that can be explored during your trial. To get the best defense strategies you need a seasoned Colorado Springs criminal lawyer who has handled many similar cases in the past. The ideal attorney should be aggressive and ready to fight in your defense to the end in a court of law.
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