Facing charges for a violent crime in Charlotte can result in life-changing consequences, and it’s understandable for anyone to be overwhelmed in this difficult situation. Law enforcement officials are always under a lot of pressure to arrest a culpable individual if someone’s recent death is thought to be due to foul play. If you are arrested for voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, you face years in prison and a permanent criminal record. It’s important for anyone in this position to seek skilled legal help right away. A violent crimes attorney in Mecklenburg County will understand how to build a strong defense against your charges no matter what the details of your case may be.
If you or a loved one has been charged with manslaughter, it is essential to retain the counsel of an experienced Charlotte criminal defense attorney. At Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys, we understand how serious this situation can be for you and your family, and we know how to protect your rights and future during every step of the legal process.
Manslaughter in Charlotte, NC
North Carolina General Statute (NCGS) § 14-18 outlines the severe punishments that are meant for parties found guilty of manslaughter. Unlike first degree murder, which is considered to be the case if someone is acting with premeditation in the killing of another, manslaughter occurs when someone is provoked into killing another or takes someone’s life due to reckless actions. A manslaughter charge, including one for accidental vehicular manslaughter, is less serious than first-degree murder. If you’re found guilty of the offense of manslaughter, however, you still face felony-level penalties. Mecklenburg County prosecutors aggressively pursue cases where someone died due to the actions of another, so we strongly advise you not to delay when seeking legal help.
Unintentional and intentional criminal killings in Charlotte can happen by any possible means, but the law does go into further detail to describe the various scenarios when you can find yourself facing charges for causing someone else’s death. Manslaughter and other killings can result in the following charges:
This is the killing of another person that involves the purposeful actions of the responsible party who is acting under circumstances that have caused them to be mentally or emotionally disturbed. Their mindset does not allow the intent requirement of murder charges to be present. This offense often occurs in situations where the killer is provoked or acting in the “heat of passion.”
These unintentional killings do not involve heat of passion or provoked acts. Someone can be charged with this offense when they caused someone’s death through their negligent use of a vehicle, other reckless actions, or while in the commission of a non-felony crime.
Death by Vehicle
This offense involves causing someone’s death while violating a vehicle regulation or committing a traffic violation. This is a felony if the driver is found to be driving while impaired, or a misdemeanor for any other circumstances involving a violation of traffic laws.
Manslaughter Crimes Can Result In Very Harsh Punishments in Charlotte
All criminal actions that result in someone’s death are taken seriously by Charlotte prosecutors. Being found responsible for manslaughter can result in a permanent criminal record in addition to incarceration and fines. While manslaughter and accidental deaths caused by vehicles are very serious, your lawyer can argue the facts of your case to have your charges reduced. Having a strong defense may result in a lighter punishment, or it can help you avoid any unjust legal consequences by having your case dismissed.
Manslaughter and death by vehicle offenses can be punished as follows:
- Voluntary Manslaughter – A class D felony, which is punishable by up to 160 months in prison
- Involuntary Manslaughter – Charged as a class F felony, a conviction requires at least 13 months in prison, and up to 41 months depending on the details of your case.
- Felony Death by Vehicle – Causing a death while driving is a class D felony. This is considered an aggravated crime if you have a prior DWI conviction; in this situation, you face increased class D felony charges.
- Misdemeanor Death By Vehicle – Causing someone’s death when violating a traffic law other than impaired driving is punishable as a class 1A misdemeanor. This offense can result in up to 150 days in jail and a large fine.
Defenses Against a Manslaughter Charge in Mecklenburg County
Being arrested and charged with voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, or death by vehicle may make your situation seem hopeless, but that is not the case. The prosecution must prove every element of their case to find you guilty. The lawyers at Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys have defended many clients facing harsh punishments for serious charges. We know how to gather relevant evidence in your case in order to build a strong defense on your behalf.
While every case is different, one or several of the defenses that we may use in your situation include:
- You are the victim of mistaken identity – It’s possible that law enforcement made a mistake and arrested you instead of the responsible party.
- You acted in self-defense – You have the right to act in self-defense when there are no other options. You cannot be found guilty of manslaughter if your actions were reasonable to protect your safety or the safety of others.
- You were not reckless in your actions – If someone died due to an accident in which you were involved, you cannot be found guilty of a crime if the court finds that you were not reckless at the time of the person’s death.
- The police violated your rights – Law enforcement must consider your constitutional rights when searching you or your property. If they don’t, then evidence found in those searches should not be used against you in court.