Definition Of Manslaughter Charges In Nevada
Manslaughter is a distinct criminal offense defined as the act of unlawfully killing another person without intending it or with malicious intent. There are two kinds of manslaughter in Nevada:
- Voluntary Manslaughter; and
- Involuntary Manslaughter.
Vehicular Manslaughter and Justifiable Homicide are offenses that bear resemblance to manslaughter. Voluntary Manslaughter is an impulsive and intentional act that occurs in the “heat of passion”. If a situation provokes anger or rage, but there is not enough time to assess it rationally before committing the killing, then this kind of manslaughter may be applicable. In other words, no matter how angry or violent one might become due to certain events; without sufficient time for them to cool off and think logically about their actions, voluntary manslaughter could still apply.
Voluntary Manslaughter is a Category B felony that carries with it stringent penalties. All those convicted of this crime face at least one year in prison and could be handed up to 10 years plus fines reaching $10,000. It’s clear that Nevada takes these matters seriously so there are no leniences granted when found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, which is why it’s so important to have an experienced Las Vegas manslaughter defense attorney in your corner.
Types of Manslaughter Charges
Three types of manslaughter are legally acknowledged in Nevada; each has its own precise definition but, regardless, all may lead to serious repercussions. The three distinct legal labels for manslaughter in the state of Nevada:
In Nevada, involuntary manslaughter is a criminal offense outlined in NRS § 200.070 that involves the unintentional killing of another individual during an illegal or irresponsible act. As it is considered to be less severe than second-degree murder (which generally entails unintentionally taking someone else’s life with grave carelessness), voluntary manslaughter in Nevada ranks as a Category D felony, punishable by 1-4 years behind bars and fines up to $5,000.
1. Except under the circumstances provided in NRS 484B.550 and 484B.653, involuntary manslaughter is the killing of a human being, without any intent to do so, in the commission of an unlawful act, or a lawful act which probably might produce such a consequence in an unlawful manner, but where the involuntary killing occurs in the commission of an unlawful act, which, in its consequences, naturally tends to destroy the life of a human being, or is committed in the prosecution of a felonious intent, the offense is murder. 2. Involuntary manslaughter does not include vehicular manslaughter as described in NRS 484B.657.
When an individual gets so angry that they take someone’s life, it is called voluntary manslaughter. It only applies if a reasonable person in the same position would have experienced similar “passion.” The sequence of events must be as follows:
- A person suffers a terrible wrong that would upset any normal human being,
- The person mentally snaps over having been wronged so unjustly,
- In a sudden, heated, violent impulse, the person immediately kills the wrongdoer.
For a homicide to be deemed as voluntary manslaughter, the provocation that sparks an uncontrollable violent response must be of considerable magnitude.
Voluntary manslaughter is often associated with the scene of an individual catching their partner in bed with someone else and committing homicide. It’s important to note that there is no such crime as “attempted manslaughter” since it would imply intentional maliciousness, which completely contradicts the legal definition of manslaughter.
According to NRS 484C.130, a motorist may only be charged with vehicular homicide if they fall into one of these three categories:
Thankfully, vehicular homicide laws are specifically designated for repeat DUI offenders. Nevertheless, Nevada additionally has a distinct offense of vehicular manslaughter that could potentially be charged instead if no drugs or alcohol were present in the incident. If the prosecution believes that you were recklessly driving and disregarding life in connection with an accident, they can charge you with the heinous crime of vehicular homicide.
Committing vehicular manslaughter in Nevada comes with a range of consequences, such as suspending your license for 1 year; paying up to $1000 in fines; and being incarcerated for 6 months. Fortunately, after 2 years have passed from the case closure date, you may be able to get this offense sealed off your record.
At the Spartacus Law Firm, our Las Vegas manslaughter defense attorney is ready to help you manage any manslaughter charges that arise in Nevada. We’ll start working on your case instantly to construct the strongest possible defense for your advantage. Contact our office today for a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.
1. A person commits vehicular homicide if the person:
(a) Drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle on or off the highways of this State and:
(1) Is under the influence of intoxicating liquor; (2) Has a concentration of alcohol of 0.10 or more in his or her blood or breath; (3) Is found by measurement within 2 hours after driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle to have a concentration of alcohol of 0.10 or more in his or her blood or breath; (4) Is under the influence of a controlled substance or is under the combined influence of intoxicating liquor and a controlled substance; (5) Inhales, ingests, applies or otherwise uses any chemical, poison or organic solvent, or any compound or combination of any of these, to a degree which renders the person incapable of safely driving or exercising actual physical control of a vehicle; or (6) Has a prohibited substance in his or her blood or urine, as applicable, in an amount that is equal to or greater than the amount set forth in subsection 3 or 4 of NRS 484C.110; (b) Proximately causes the death of another person while driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle on or off the highways of this State; and (c) Has previously been convicted of at least three offenses.
2. If consumption is proven by a preponderance of the evidence, it is an affirmative defense under subparagraph (3) of paragraph (a) of subsection 1 that the defendant consumed a sufficient quantity of alcohol after driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle, and before his or her blood or breath was tested, to cause the defendant to have a concentration of alcohol of 0.10 or more in his or her blood or breath. A defendant who intends to offer this defense at a trial or preliminary hearing must, not less than 14 days before the trial or hearing or at such other time as the court may direct, file and serve on the prosecuting attorney a written notice of that intent.
3. As used in this section, “offense” means: (b) A homicide resulting from driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a controlled substance or resulting from any other conduct prohibited by this section or NRS 484C.110 or 484C.430; or (c) A violation of a law of any other jurisdiction that prohibits the same or similar conduct as set forth in paragraph (a) or (b).
Common Defenses Against Manslaughter Charges In Nevada
If you’re facing manslaughter charges in Nevada, a criminal defense lawyer at our firm can help develop an effective defense for your situation. Our team utilizes various strategies such as thorough trial preparation, aggressive settlement negotiations with prosecutors, and utilization of other techniques that are proven to be successful in these cases. Some of the best defenses for violent crimes include the following:
For criminal defense lawyers, proving the defendant’s innocence is a primary goal. To do this, they must demonstrate that there isn’t sufficient evidence to convict beyond a reasonable doubt. If successful in their attempt of convincing the court, then the accused will be acquitted of all charges.
Despite the many safeguards in our legal framework, errors can still occur. In some cases, a Las Vegas manslaughter defense lawyer may be able to have an accused person’s manslaughter charge dismissed if they can show that procedural mistakes prevented the defendant from receiving a fair trial.
Law enforcement personnel must adhere to precise protocols when performing searches, seizures, arrests, and interrogations. Should a police officer fail to comply with these regulations while apprehending someone in connection with manslaughter or gathering evidence related thereto, the accused’s lawyer can take legal action by submitting an application for suppression of material proof or complete dismissal of charges.
Nevada state laws grant you the right to utilize lethal force in self-defense when faced with imminent harm or death. In certain scenarios, a defendant can use self-defense as an acceptable justification for manslaughter if they acted reasonably under the circumstances.
In the event of a genuine accident that leads to someone’s death, manslaughter charges will not be imposed unless evidence has been presented that shows the defendant was acting negligently or unlawfully during said person’s passing.
In cases of extreme mental instability, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, where the individual is unable to recognize their own actions and behavior due to delusions or insanity, they may be excused from guilt through the concept of “not guilty by reason of insanity.” Yet this is an exceptionally intricate defense that could potentially lead to institutionalization even if proven successful.
An experienced manslaughter defense attorney in Las Vegas can go over the details of your case and help decide on a legal strategy that is suitable to your personal situation. They will also advise you about what could be feasible in terms of results, as well as guide you through every step along the way.
Examples Of Involuntary Manslaughter
In Nevada, involuntary manslaughter carries a legal definition that states “a human being is killed without intent to do so in the course of an unlawful act or a lawful activity conducted in an illegal manner”. The distinction between this and second-degree murder charges lies in recklessness not present. Examples of such scenarios include:
- Mishandling a loaded gun, causing it to fire and kill someone
- Mistaking someone for an animal and shooting them while hunting
- Causing a child’s death by leaving a poisonous chemical within their reach
Reckless Driving Causing Death In Nevada
When it comes to criminal responsibility, reckless driving is considered more culpable than negligence-based vehicular manslaughter due to the willful disregard for safety. When an individual displays dangerous behaviors like speeding or substance abuse while operating a vehicle and results in the death of another person, they face criminal penalties according to Nevada state law. Reckless driving causing death is typically charged as a felony charge rather than manslaughter and carries harsher consequences relative to its lesser counterpart.
Vehicular Homicide vs Vehicular Manslaughter
Vehicular homicide is a distinct criminal offense from vehicular manslaughter and should not be confused with one another. Vehicular homicide occurs when an individual causes a fatal accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and has three prior DUI convictions, making it a felony in Nevada that holds the potential for life imprisonment-the utmost serious consequence after such an incident.