Manslaughter is a type of homicide that is less serious than a murder charge. In a charge of manslaughter, the act was not premeditated and the defendant did not intend to kill but did so accidentally through either recklessness or negligence. Manslaughter implies that the victim’s death was avoidable and that the defendant could have acted with greater care in order to avoid killing the victim.
There are three types of manslaughter under Washington state law: First-degree manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter, and vehicular homicide. The penalty differs for each type of manslaughter.
If you have been charged with any type of manslaughter, we encourage you to reach out to a skilled Spokane manslaughter defense lawyer at Twyford Law Office. We can put our experience to work for you to protect your rights and your future.
Manslaughter in the first degree occurs when someone recklessly causes the death of another person, or when someone intentionally and unlawfully kills an unborn child by inflicting injury on the mother of the child. Manslaughter in the first degree is a class A felony, which means it carries the strongest punishment possible: At maximum, a fine and life in prison without the possibility of parole (RCW 9A.32.060).
Manslaughter in the second degree occurs when someone causes the death of another person through criminal negligence. Manslaughter in the second degree is a class B felony, which means it carries a punishment of 10 years in prison at the maximum and a maximum fine of $20,000 maximum (RCW 9A.32.070).
Vehicular homicide refers to a death caused by a car, truck, bus, taxi, motorcycle, or any other kind of motor vehicle when the driver whose actions caused the death was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving in a reckless manner, or driving with disregard for the safety of others. Under these conditions, the act may be ruled a vehicular homicide if the victim sustains injuries in the accident and dies within three years (RCW 46.61.520).
Vehicular homicide is a class A felony, punishable by a maximum of life imprisonment and/or a fine of $50,000 (RCW 9A.20.021(1)(a)). If the defendant has any prior offenses, two additional years will be added to the prison sentence for each offense. The penalty for vehicular homicide also depends in some measure on the circumstances of the accident.
Further penalties may be applied to a charge of manslaughter involving a firearm or other deadly weapon. Additionally, manslaughter may be either voluntary or involuntary. In a case of voluntary manslaughter, homicide occurs in response to provocation, while in involuntary manslaughter, homicide occurs as a result of criminal negligence. Homicide refers to any death that occurs unlawfully.
Contact Our Spokane Manslaughter Attorneys
A manslaughter charge is perhaps one of the most severe criminal charges you could ever face. The first step is to reach out to a defense attorney who can protect your rights and fight for your future. We will work tirelessly to get you acquitted or to get your charges dismissed or reduced.
Contact us for a free consultation today – call (509) 327-0777.