Bar fights occur with some frequency in New Jersey, and you can face serious criminal charges if a bar fight goes wrong. The Union County Prosecutor’s Office recently issued a press release describing one such bar fight that culminated in a tragic result. Specifically, a resident of Elizabeth, New Jersey, was recently arrested and charged with first-degree aggravated manslaughter for taking part in a bar fight that left a man dead in July of this year. Officers allegedly responded to Ben’s Bar on Meadow Street just at 2 AM and found the injured victim, who had not yet lost his life; the victim passed away shortly thereafter at Trinitas Regional Medical Center. Given the fatality involved, three different police agencies responded to the scene: the Union County Homicide Task Force, the Union County Sheriff’s Department, and the Elizabeth Police Department. It goes without saying that law enforcement takes matters involving someone’s death very seriously. In the case of the Elizabeth fatality, officers identified a suspect in the case on the night of the bar fight and charged him after they conducted further investigation.
If you have been charged with manslaughter or aggravated manslaughter in NJ, it is important to understand the key differences between these two levels charges, how this impacts the respective consequences for each, and the significant distinctions between manslaughter and homicide under New Jersey law. In this article, our experienced criminal defense attorneys in Union County, NJ, will further explain the subject and discuss what you can do to when raising your defense. With that being said, you should seek dedicated legal counsel specific to the facts of your case – and our team is here to assist you. We have been defending clients charged with manslaughter, as well as other violent crimes such as aggravated assault, terroristic threats, first degree robbery, and assault by auto in Union County and across New Jersey for the better part of the last decade. Contact us 24/7 online or by calling our office in Cranford at (732) 659-9600 for a free consultation.
What is the Charge for Causing Someone Else’s Death in New Jersey?
Aggravated manslaughter is one of the charges you may face if you get into a physical altercation in New Jersey that gets out of hand, or engage in other type of conduct that ultimately results in someone’s death. This is assuming that you did not murder someone, in which case you may face a more serious charge for homicide.
What is Manslaughter & Aggravated Manslaughter in NJ?
A specific New Jersey law, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4, prohibits causing the death of another person if you consciously disregarded an unjustifiable and substantial risk that the death would occur. This offense is known as manslaughter. You can be charged with either manslaughter or aggravated manslaughter for this type of conduct, depending on the facts of your case. Aggravated manslaughter is charged as a first-degree indictable offense—the most serious category of crime in the state of New Jersey. To prove that you committed aggravated manslaughter, a prosecutor must establish that you caused the death of another person while manifesting an extreme indifference to the value of human life. You generally manifest an extreme indifference for the value of human life when you take an action that has a high probability of causing someone’s death. Notably, this is distinct from murder, which involves the intentional killing of another person.
You can also be charged with a second-degree indictable offense for manslaughter if you recklessly cause the death of someone else or commit a homicide while responding to certain extremely stressful events that New Jersey case law indicates would arouse the passion of most people; for example, catching a spouse in bed with another person and the like. Engaging in a reckless act is less serious than manifesting an extreme indifference to the value of human life, and it is generally easier for prosecutors to prove that you acted reckless than that you acted with extreme indifference. Both of these charges are extremely serious.
What are the Penalties for Manslaughter and Aggravated Manslaughter?
If you are convicted of first degree aggravated manslaughter, you face a potential sentence that includes ten to thirty years in prison and up to $200,000 in fines. If you are convicted of second degree manslaughter, you face five to ten years in state prison and fines up to $150,000. Additionally, both charges carry a period of parole ineligibility, which requires you to serve 85% of your sentence before coming up for parole. Learn more about the No Early Release Act (NERA).
Elizabeth NJ Manslaughter Defense Attorney Needed
If you or a loved one has been accused of first or second degree manslaughter, or if you were involved in a bar fight where someone died or was seriously injured, you should not waste a second before contacting a capable criminal defense attorney. Ending up in a situation that costs someone their life can ruin your own, regardless of whether you knew that the person ultimately died or even intended for this to happen in the first place. Get the zealous defense representation you need and more information about what’s next in the legal process by calling (732) 659-9600 today. Consultations are free and available at your convenience.