Grand Junction Manslaughter Defense Lawyers
If you’ve been wrongfully accused of manslaughter, you are experiencing one of the most challenging times of your life. Being accused of taking the life of another person will destroy your reputation, ruin your professional career, and can lead to spending years in state prison. If convicted, you can face up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000, which is more than enough to devastate the life of a person who is wrongfully accused.
Preparing and executing a strong defense is the best way to avoid conviction and hiring a top-level criminal defense attorney can make the difference between acquittal and jail time. Our criminal defense attorneys at Peters & Nolan, LLC, are professional trial lawyers that are known for their ability to put together creative defenses that result in an acquittal or reduced sentences. Our impressive win-loss ratio in court shows that we know what we’re doing.
Manslaughter is defined in the Colorado criminal code section 18-3-104 C.R.S. as:
“A person commits the crime of manslaughter if:
a) Such person recklessly causes the death of another person; or
b) Such person intentionally causes or aids another person to commit suicide”
Manslaughter is a felony with a penalty of two to six years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000, followed by a minimum of three years of mandatory parole.
Key to understanding and defending against manslaughter is the definition of “recklessly.” Legally, you behave recklessly if you are aware that an activity involves substantial and unjustifiable risk, and yet you decide to act anyway. For example, if you were speeding significantly higher than the posted speed limit (which is known to increase the risk of a fatal accident) and this resulted in the death of a passenger, you may be charged with manslaughter. If it can be shown that you intentionally killed someone, the charge may be increased to second-degree murder.
When it comes to aiding or causing another to commit suicide, you must have knowingly provided someone the tools to commit suicide, or you intentionally cause another to commit suicide. The key to these charges is that you must have knowingly and intentionally performed the actions that led to the suicide. Exceptions are made for medical caregivers and other professionals.
There are several defenses against charges of manslaughter that can lead to a “not guilty” verdict, a reduced charge, dismissed charge, or lesser sentence, including:
- The death was an accident, not intentional or intended to harm
- Your actions were justified as you were acting in self-defense or the defense of others
- You were unaware of the risks involved
- You did not commit the crime, a case of mistaken identity
- Your rights were violated by the police, rendering the evidence against inadmissible
- You are legally insane (this is a challenging defense, as you must prove that you are mentally incapable of distinguishing right from wrong regarding the crime, and this defense will not work if the diminished mental capacity is due to the consumption of drugs or alcohol)
Each case is unique, and many factors can lead to a being wrongfully charged with manslaughter. Eyewitness testimony is often a crucial part of the case against you, and this testimony is often faulty, uncertain, or in conflict with other witness statements.
There are four basic charges related to causing the death of another, varying in severity. They differ based on your intent and whether you were aware of the risk of death involved:
- Criminally negligent homicide is the least severe crime, where you are unaware of the risk involved in an incident where your actions cause the death of another.
- Manslaughter occurs when you are aware of the risks of death, but act recklessly, and this results in the death of another.
- Second-degree murder is when you intentionally cause the death of another in the heat of the moment, without premeditation.
- First-degree murder is when you intentionally and unlawfully kill another with malice, forethought and premeditation.
The attorneys at Peters & Nolan, LLC have dedicated decades to defending those who have been wrongfully accused. Our team meticulously reviews each case and compiles creative and effective defense strategies, presented persuasively to the jury. Our clients are treated with compassion, care, and decency, protecting their rights and interests, from start to finish. You deserve your defense to presented by a talented trial lawyer – there is no question that the quality of your defense is the most critical factor in the outcome of your case. Call us today at (970) 243-4357 to schedule a free consultation.
Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.