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September 12, 2023READ THE POST
Taking another person’s life is the most grievous offense one person can commit against another. However, sometimes these actions are not intentional, but rather a tragic accident.
For example, a Colorado Springs woman was recently found shot to death in her apartment. The investigation quickly led to her husband, who had been cleaning his rifle and accidentally discharged the weapon, causing the fatal injury.
Because his actions were not intentional, he has been charged with manslaughter rather than murder, which carries a much less severe sentence.
This raises the question: What, exactly, is the difference between manslaughter and murder?
We’ve put together a guide covering what distinguishes manslaughter from murder, and the sentencing and penalties you could face if convicted of the lesser charge.
The difference between manslaughter and murder is the defendant’s intent. If the defendant planned to kill the victim prior to committing the offense, this is considered first-degree murder, a Class 1 Felony, which is punishable by life in prison.
There are a few scenarios that are exceptions to this rule, which are still considered Class 1 Felonies:
By contrast, manslaughter occurs when the defendant did not intend to kill the victim and was not committing another felony at the time of the killing.
If the defendant deliberately kills the victim in a heat of passion, for example after walking in on a cheating spouse, this is considered second-degree murder, which in Colorado is synonymous with voluntary manslaughter.
Manslaughter occurs when the defendant did not intend to kill the victim or killed the victim in a sudden heat of passion. There are a few scenarios under which this could occur, which are prosecuted as separate charges:
Clearly, the charge of manslaughter is quite serious regardless of the circumstances surrounding the alleged offense. However, there are a number of defense strategies that could be used to help your case if you are facing this quite serious charge.
About the Author:
Andrew Bryant is a well-respected Colorado Springs criminal attorney who has been practicing in the area for years. A Colorado native, he returned to the home he loves after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Now, he uses the knowledge he gained as an El Paso County District Attorney to fight tirelessly for his clients’ rights. He is AV-Preeminent rated, has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been named to Best of the Springs lists by The Gazette for years.
Contact The Law Office of Andrew Bryant today for a free consultation concerning your criminal or family law case. You are just a click away from a top-rated and respected team with the experience and tenacity to ensure you get the best legal services offered in Colorado Springs – call or email now.