Manslaughter Attorney in Middlesex County
Edison NJ Manslaughter Attorneys
Murder is the most reprehensible crime in the criminal statutes. New Jersey punishes murder severely in furtherance of the paramount state interest to protect lives. While murder is an intentional act—someone sets out to kill another—manslaughter is not necessarily an intentional killing. The thought behind the law is that although those accused of manslaughter do not plan to kill anyone, they unreasonably risk others’ lives by their actions. Recklessly causing someone’s death is involuntary manslaughter. Defining recklessness is not always straightforward but critical to proving manslaughter. The term “reckless” is hard to quantify or qualify since it is a matter of degree. Taking unreasonable risks, such as driving drunk, is a measure of recklessness. Only one step down from the king of crimes, murder, manslaughter is not an accusation to take lightly. The state is likely to take a hard stance against a manslaughter defendant. So, if you are facing manslaughter charges, find quality legal assistance.
Our Middlesex County criminal defense firm includes experienced criminal defense attorneys who know the law, courts, judges, prosecutors, and cases dealing with manslaughter. Though the potential penalties for the crime of manslaughter and aggravated manslaughter are daunting, you can trust a skilled defense lawyer at our firm to use all their know-how and tools to whittle away at the state’s case against you. We have been defending clients charged with felony crimes like manslaughter in towns throughout Middlesex County and New Jersey for over a decade, often fighting for the rights of clients in Woodbridge, Edison, New Brunswick, Piscataway, East Brunswick, Carteret, South Brunswick, and Monroe. Contact us at (732) 659-9600 for immediate assistance in a cost-free consultation. Our lawyers maintain complete confidentiality and all we do if criminal law defense in the state of New Jersey, so get answers to your questions and guidance for your case by contacting us today.
What is Vehicular Manslaughter in New Jersey?
Someone who drives a car recklessly or drives under the influence of drugs or alcohol may unintentionally kill people when they cause a car accident. Though the drunk driver or reckless driver does intend to drive drunk or recklessly, they do not want to kill someone with their car. Losing a convicted driver’s license for ten (10) years after committing vehicular manslaughter shows the legislature’s intent to punish reckless or drunk driving and keep highly irresponsible drivers off the road to save lives. However, a prosecutor must prove an accused knew that driving intoxicated could lead to someone’s injury or death, yet they still drove drunk. A driver’s extremely high blood alcohol content and the driving circumstances may influence a jury or judge on the issue of recklessness. For example, they could consider an accused’s .18% BAC and their speeding down a crowded boulevard on a Friday night an unjustifiable safety risk that the driver consciously ignored.
So, if no one ever caused a fatal accident when driving drunk, an individual accused of vehicular manslaughter due to drunk driving would probably go free. But that is not the case. Between public messaging, reading the news, and personal experience, most everyone knows that drunk driving too often results in fatalities. It is common knowledge that a driver’s motor skills and reaction time are significantly distorted, so car crashes are likely. And a superior court prosecutor’s job is to highlight the circumstances to prove the driver’s recklessness and careless disregard for the sanctity of life (if aggravated assault is the charge). Thus, a driver who registers a BAC of .08%, just over the legal limit, and gets into an accident with a fatality one foggy night may not have committed manslaughter due to the circumstances. Thus, if they did not cause the accident, a prosecutor may not convince a jury that the driver acted recklessly without care whether their condition and actions could endanger another’s life.
What is the Difference between Manslaughter and Murder in NJ?
Aside from involuntary vehicular manslaughter is the infamous crime of passion. What would otherwise be murder, a husband shoots and kills his wife, is manslaughter because the actor had no premeditated intent to kill. Instead, it happens in the heat of the moment. So, the classic movie scene of the husband coming home unexpectedly to find his wife in bed with his best friend sends the husband in a rage and shoots his wife or both. In other words, a reasonable provocation for the husband’s actions mitigates the heinous killing. It is no excuse for taking another’s life. Still, circumstances of extraordinary provocation make the crime of voluntary manslaughter less culpable than someone who shot and killed someone in cold blood. Thus, an act that would be murder is manslaughter when there are mitigating circumstances.
What is Considered Aggravated Manslaughter?
An accused whose actions cause another’s death and who demonstrates extremely callous indifference to human life may be guilty of aggravated manslaughter. The measure of extreme indifference to human life is in the circumstances, not the mind of the accused. In other words, someone who knows that their actions will probably lead to loss of life commits aggravated manslaughter when someone dies. Thus, setting off a bomb in a public park, even if no one is near, has a high likelihood that someone would get hurt and most probably would die from their injuries. Given the typical traffic in the park, the time of day, the intensity of the explosion, and nearby structures that could catch fire, no doubt the action would harm people. Another example of aggravated manslaughter is the high-speed car chase of a suspect eluding the police. Others on the road are in danger when reckless speed and vehicle maneuvers cause accidents or pedestrian fatalities.
Sentencing for Manslaughter & Aggravated Manslaughter Charges in Middlesex County NJ
Once convicted of manslaughter, a defendant can expect a sentence of up to ten (10) years in prison. Manslaughter is a second degree indictable crime punishable by a minimum of five (5) years and up to $150,000.00 in fines, plus restitution. On the other hand, aggravated manslaughter characterized by a callous indifference to another’s life or eluding law enforcement is a first degree crime. If convicted, a judge could sentence an offender to thirty (30) years in prison maximum, ten (10) years minimum. They may also pay fines of up to $200,000.00 in fines plus restitution to victims. And vehicular manslaughter comes with the additional penalty of losing your license.
Connect with a New Brunswick Manslaughter Defense Lawyer for Further Guidance
Ultimately, there are ways to successfully defend against manslaughter charges against you or a loved one. A defense attorney’s job is to raise doubt in a jury’s mind. A prosecutor’s job is to convince a jury that you committed the charged crime beyond a reasonable doubt. However, whether you acted recklessly is a question of fact that both the prosecution and defense will most assuredly present differently, most likely pitting callous disregard for human life against simple human error, justifiable homicide, or inability to kill intentionally. Talk to a Middlesex County criminal defense lawyer to discuss your manslaughter charges and how to dismantle the state’s case to get the charges dropped or negotiate for a lesser charge to minimize the penalties. Your manslaughter or aggravated manslaughter case can jeopardize your future. Take action by contacting our legal team today. Free consultations are available 24/7, call (732) 659-9600.