The terms murder and manslaughter can sometimes be used interchangeably in conversation. Under Florida law, manslaughter is different from murder charges. Manslaughter does not involve intent to kill and murder does. Individuals charged with manslaughter are accused of allegedly committing an act of negligence that led to a person’s death.

In order for the prosecution to convict a person of manslaughter, they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed an act that was not merely negligent, justified, or excusable which caused death. If you were accused of manslaughter, it is in your best interest to remain silent with law enforcement and seek legal representation.

Attorney for Manslaughter in Brooksville, FL

Were you arrested or are you under investigation for alleged manslaughter in Hernando County or the surrounding area? Any statement you make can be used against you and you have limited time. Do not speak to authorities and contact The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. to talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Ashley Aulls is a qualified criminal defense attorney and has represented many clients facing violent crime charges. His office is located in Brooksville, Florida, but he has accepted clients throughout the Fifth Judicial Circuit including Sumter County, and Citrus County.

Call (352) 593-4115 or simply fill out an online contact form to set up your first consultation. 

Elements of Manslaughter in Florida

Florida Statute 782.07(1) explains the prosecution must prove the following things beyond a reasonable doubt to get a manslaughter conviction:

  • The victim is dead;
  • As to the cause, it must be proven that:
    • The accused intentionally procured an act that caused the death of the victim;
    • The accused intentionally committed an act or acts that caused the death of the victim;
    • The death of the victim was caused by the culpable negligence of the defendant.

The crime of aggravated manslaughter is defined by who the manslaughter happened to. The following elements that must be proven in court to convict a person of aggravated manslaughter:

  • The victim is dead;
  • The death of the victim was caused by culpable negligence of the defendant;
  • As to the cause, it must be proven that:
    • The victim was an officer, firefighter, an emergency medical technician (EMT), or a paramedic who was at the time performing duties that were within the course of his or her employment;
    • The victim was at the time an elderly person, a disabled adult or a child and the victim’s death was caused by the neglect of the defendant, a caregiver for the victim.

Culpable Negligence Defined under Florida Law

The definition of “culpable negligence” under State law is the concept that every person has a duty to act reasonably to others. If there is a violation of that duty, without any conscious intention to harm, that violation is regarded as negligence.

However, culpable negligence is beyond just not treating others with care. For negligence to be defined as culpable, it must be considered offensive and immoral.

Culpable negligence is a course of conduct showing:

  • Reckless disregard of the safety of persons exposed to its dangerous effects;
  • Reckless disregard of human life;
  • Such an entire want of care as to show recklessness or wantonness or a grossly careless disregard for the safety and welfare of the public;
  • Such an entire want to raise a presumption of a conscious indifference to consequences; or
  • Such an indifference to the rights of others as is equivalent to an intentional violation of such rights.

Culpable negligence is when the accused is following conduct where they must have known, or reasonably should have known, that the act was likely to cause death or great bodily injury in another person. The act must be considered negligent with an utter disregard for the safety of others.

Involuntary vs. Voluntary Manslaughter in Florida

Florida law classifies manslaughter into two different types. They are defined by intent and their adjoining penalties.

 The first type is “Involuntary Manslaughter,” which is when one person kills another without intending to do so. Instead, the accused performed culpable negligence and behaved negligently with utter disregard for the safety of others.

 Normally, a person convicted of involuntary manslaughter is a second-degree felony. The penalty for a second-degree felony is up to ten (10) years in prison and a possible fine up to $10,000. These penalties can be enhanced if the victim was a child, elderly person, disabled adult, police officer, firefighter, or paramedic.

The second type is “Voluntary Manslaughter,” which is when one person kills another in the midst of provocation, but without premeditation, or reckless disregard for life. This is often referred to as a “crime of passion.” Normally a voluntary manslaughter conviction results in a penalty of fifteen (15) years in prison, and a possible fine of up to $15,000.

Possible Defenses for Manslaughter

Manslaughter convictions carry incredibly harsh penalties. However, with a strong defense, the accused may be able to have their charges reduced. The following are some possible defenses an attorney can utilize to combat a manslaughter charge:

  • Negligence – The Florida Standard Jury Instructions states that the alleged offender “cannot be guilty of manslaughter by committing a merely negligent act or if the killing was either justifiable or excusable homicide.” Any violation of not acting reasonably toward others without any conscious intention to harm is considered negligence.
  • Justifiable Homicide – The term “justifiable homicide” is defined under Florida Statute § 782.02 as the lawful use of deadly force when a person is resisting any attempt to murder such person or to commit any felony upon him or her or upon or in any dwelling house in which the charged shall be. In Florida, many self-defense claims use the invocation of the “Stand Your Ground” law.
  • Excusable Homicide – The term “excusable homicide” is defined under Florida law as an act of killing committed by accident or misfortune in doing any lawful act by lawful means with usual ordinary caution and without any unlawful intent. Other incidents can be when the killing occurs by accident or misfortune in the heat of passion, upon sudden and sufficient provocation, or when the killing is committed by accident or misfortune resulting from sudden combat.

 Even if none of these possible defenses apply to your case, an experienced attorney can formulate a sturdy defense with your circumstances. If you’re struggling with manslaughter accusations, go and contact legal representation to protect your civil rights.

Additional Resources

Understanding Manslaughter by Culpable Negligence and Vehicular Homicide – Visit the Florida Bar’s website to read a citizens guide to the Florida statutes and scenarios surrounding manslaughter. Find answers on the varying degrees of negligence, and possible lesser offenses a person can be granted with sufficient defense from an attorney.

Florida Statute, 782.07 – Visit Florida Legislature’s website and read up on the 2017 Florida Statutes regarding manslaughter. See the statutory language about manslaughter charges, the specifics of different kinds of manslaughter, and exceptions for manslaughter under Florida law.

Finding a Lawyer for Manslaughter Charges in Hernando County, FL

Have you or someone you know been arrested for manslaughter in the West Central Florida area? It is imperative that you remain silent with law enforcement, and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. is a qualified and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. Ashley Aulls has practiced law since 1996. He has a passion for criminal defense. The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. has represented clients all over Hernando County and its adjoining counties including Bushnell in Sumter County, Inverness in Citrus County, and Brooksville in Hernando County, Florida.

Ashley Aulls is familiar in handling DUI cases with local law enforcement agencies such as Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office; the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, and the Bushnell Police Department.

Get your life back, contact The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. to create a plan with an attorney today. Defend your image and rights, call (352) 593-4115 to set up a consultation with The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A..

This article was last updated by Jordan Anderson, on June 29th, 2018.