Manslaughter

Homicide Defense Lawyer Representing Residents of Clearwater and St. Petersburg

The punishment for criminal homicide varies according to the circumstances of the alleged killing. Murder and felony murder are punished most harshly – the death penalty may even apply – but the crime of manslaughter also can result in many years of incarceration and other penalties. While there are a number of possible defenses in a manslaughter or other homicide case, successfully defending such a case requires considerable time, skill, and attention to detail. St. Petersburg and Clearwater manslaughter defense lawyer Will Hanlon at Hanlon Law is experienced in defending people in a variety of criminal matters, including violent crimes like murder, manslaughter, and other types of homicide.

While each criminal case is unique and should be approached with careful consideration, this is especially true when it comes to violent crimes like manslaughter. Since the consequences of a conviction can drastically alter the course of the defendant’s future, it is important that every possible defense be discovered and evaluated. The State of Florida has the burden of proving the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to do this, the prosecutor must present competent, legally admissible evidence to the jury. It is not uncommon for police and investigators to take shortcuts during the investigation phase of a manslaughter case, and it is sometimes possible to ask the trial court to exclude evidence obtained in violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights. For example, the defendant may be able to have physical evidence obtained without a search warrant excluded at trial unless the circumstances under which the evidence was found fall within the limited exceptions to the general requirement for a search warrant.

Understanding the Crime of Manslaughter Under Florida Statutory Law

Florida Statutes § 782.07 defines the crime of manslaughter as a “killing by act, procurement, or culpable negligence without lawful justification.” Unlike with murder, it is not necessary for the State to prove that the defendant acted intentionally or with premeditation in order for there to be a conviction for manslaughter. Instead, even a negligent killing is punishable under the statute. A manslaughter defense attorney in the Clearwater or St. Petersburg area can explain how each of these mental states is defined. Generally, manslaughter is a felony of the second degree, but “aggravated” manslaughter (a first-degree felony) can result when the victim is an elderly person, a disabled adult, a child, a police officer, a firefighter, an emergency medical technician, or a paramedic. Second-degree felonies may lead to a jail sentence of up to 15 years, and a first-degree felony can send the defendant to prison for even longer. Heavy fines are also likely. If the defendant used a firearm during the killing, they may face additional charges, and Florida’s tough 10-20-Life Statute may also come into play in a case involving a weapon.

Defenses in a homicide case can vary substantially, depending on how the death occurred. Both constitutional and statutory defenses may be viable; a dedicated and thorough criminal attorney can review the details of the alleged crime to determine the defense or defenses that are likely to be effective. In some cases, it may be possible to avoid a conviction altogether. In others, the “best case scenario” may still involve a conviction but on a lesser offense that will not lead to as much jail time.

Hire an Aggressive Manslaughter Defense Lawyer in Clearwater or St. Petersburg

Being convicted of manslaughter can effectively put an end to a defendant’s future hopes, dreams, and aspirations. That is a steep price to pay for an act that likely was not intended to result in another person’s death. Homicide defense attorney Will Hanlon at Hanlon Law can fight hard to protect your future. Call us at 727-897-5413 or contact us online for an appointment to discuss the charges pending against you. For more than two decades, we have been helping defend people who need a St. Petersburg or Clearwater manslaughter defense attorney to protect their rights, and we also represent people in cities such as Newport Richey and Dade City.