Manslaughter occurs when one person kills another individual without intending to do so. Facing voluntary manslaughter charges in Florida is an understandably stressful time. That said, it’s important to know that Florida doesn’t view all instances of manslaughter the same way.
Florida’s voluntary manslaughter laws
Florida considers voluntary manslaughter a second-degree felony. Voluntary manslaughter committed with a firearm or weapon reclassifies a second-degree offense as a first-degree felony. If convicted of this crime, Florida requires you to spend a mandatory minimum of nine years and three months behind bars. However, you can receive a sentence of up to 15 years imprisonment. You may also need to pay a fine of up to $10,000. Sometimes, convicted individuals will serve time and pay fines.
This crime becomes a first-degree felony if you receive an aggravated manslaughter conviction. Aggravated manslaughter is typically manslaughter committed against children or senior citizens. If convicted of aggravated manslaughter, you could face up to 30 years imprisonment.
Whether facing first or second-degree charges, Florida courts must also consider your criminal past or lack thereof. Generally, a judge or jury will hand down a harsher sentence to a repeat offender compared to someone with a clean criminal history.
Defenses against voluntary manslaughter charges
Sometimes, committing violent crimes is unavoidable to protect your well-being. Florida is a stand-your-ground state, meaning you can use deadly force when there’s a serious threat to the safety of you or your property. Another potentially excusable instance of manslaughter can take place when an unavoidable accident occurs.
During manslaughter proceedings, evidence plays a vital role in proving your innocence. That’s why it’s crucial to gather evidence supporting that an accidental death occurred if any exists.