A simple definition of homicide is: “The killing of one human being by another human being.” Murder and manslaughter both involve homicide, however, there are legal distinctions between murder charges, felony murder charges, and charges of manslaughter. There is a further legal distinction between voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, and aggravated manslaughter by eluding.
Experienced Trial Lawyers, Certified Criminal Defense Trial Attorney
If and how an individual is charged with a crime when they kill someone else depends on many factors, including the experience and legal skills of the attorneys involved. If you have been charged with manslaughter, it is important to hire a criminal defense attorney that has extensive trial experience in cases involving the death of another person.
The attorneys at Clark, Clark & Noonan, LLC have handled hundred of trials and more than 100 felony jury trials and have experience defending individuals against serious criminal cases involving municipal, state and federal crimes.
Unlike most other law firms, our attorneys are exclusively committed to the practice of criminal defense in New Jersey. The firm’s partners have successfully handled thousands of criminal cases including complex homicides. We also offer the rare benefit of a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Criminal Trial Attorney.
We operate on a “trial first, negotiations second,” premise. The stakes in every criminal case are high. No matter how the evidence seems to stack up, we believe there is ALWAYS a defense worth pursuing.
Conditions of Voluntary Manslaughter Charges
Voluntary manslaughter is sometimes referred to as a “crime of passion.” You may have intended in the moment to kill someone, or cause bodily harm severe enough to cause death, but the killing was not premeditated or planned.
Voluntary manslaughter is a lesser charge than murder, and the law requires that your attorney prove two things:
There must have been sufficient provocation. A key factor in voluntary manslaughter cases is showing that there was some set of circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to become emotionally or mentally disturbed if they encountered the same or similar situation. For example, you walk in and find your spouse in bed with another person. In the “heat of the moment” a person may respond with extreme aggression without thinking. In most cases, the provocation must involve some physical element. Verbal assaults and exchanges of words alone are generally not seen as a situations intense enough that a reasonable person would respond violently, killing another person.
There was insufficient time to “cool off.” This second condition must also be met in cases of voluntary manslaughter. If you left and and came back the next day and then attacked and killed your spouse, you had a reasonable time to cool off and think about your actions.
Conditions of Voluntary Manslaughter – “Imperfect Self Defense”
Some states recognize another type of voluntary manslaughter called, “Imperfect Self Defense.” This is where a person thought they were being threatened and had to defend themselves with deadly force, but their fear was unreasonable. New Jersey does not recognize Imperfect Self Defense.
Conditions of Involuntary Manslaughter Charges
As in the case of voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter is also a lesser crime than first-degree murder. Involuntary manslaughter involves criminal negligence and lacks the “intent” to kill someone. In cases of involuntary manslaughter a persons’ actions were reckless or irresponsible and lead to or caused the death of another person. Involuntary manslaughter also applies to when a person committing a crime (“unlawful act”) that is not a felony crime, or in “the commission of a lawful act involving a risk of injury or death that is done in an unlawful, reckless, or grossly negligent manner.”
Facing Manslaughter Charges? Our Felony Defense Attorneys Can Help.
For a combined 25 years, the criminal defense attorneys of Clark, Clark & Noonan, LLC were both prosecutors. Their knowledge of the system and experience means that they can give you an immediate and accurate answer regarding the penalties you are facing, your best legal defense to the charge, how to respond to the police or the prosecutor’s office and, most importantly, exactly what you need to do next.
You owe it to yourself to call our firm today for a free consultation at 732-303-7857. All of our clients can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via our office or cell phones. You will be in direct contact with your attorney who will remain available to answer any questions that you may have and provide any necessary counsel until your case is successfully resolved. The defense attorneys at Clark, Clark & Noonan, LLC have spent their entire careers in the court room and will give you the peace of mind and confidence that you need while we successfully defend your case.
My main strength is my trial experience. I spent many years trying complex criminal cases for every type of criminal offense. I do not worry about being taking advantage of in plea negotiations because I have the confidence to go to trial on any case.
I stress to my clients that my firm takes a trial posture on every case. We do not go to trial on every case and are often successful in our plea negotiations. But our clients do have all of the options available to them and can feel confident that they will have an excellent chance of success if they choose to go to trial.
Charles F. Clark, Founding Partner