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Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought. Manslaughter may be voluntary or involuntary. Essentially, the difference between manslaughter and murder is that manslaughter was the result of an accident, heat of passion, or some other act in which the person does not have the mental state to commit a murder.

Vehicular Manslaughter occurs when a person drives a vehicle and unintentionally but unlawfully kills another human being. This occurs when the owner knows that there is a defect in the vehicle but still drives and someone is killed as a result of the defect in the vehicle.

Voluntary Manslaughter occurs when a person kills another in the heat of passion, without planning beforehand. The classical example is when a person finds their spouse having sex with another person and reacts immediately by killing.

Involuntary Manslaughter, also known as criminally negligent homicide, occurs when a death is an indirect result of recklessness or negligence. This occurs when a person runs a red light and hits another vehicle and a person is killed.

Manslaughter is one of the least serious murder charges, but it is still very serious. Although manslaughter can take many different forms, it is typically the killing of another human being without premeditation or malice. For the state to charge you with manslaughter, the act cannot be considered justifiable use of deadly force. In the State of Florida, manslaughter is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. A smart Florida manslaughter criminal defense attorney can give you a more complete idea of the range of penalties possible in your case.

Aggravated Manslaughter

Aggravated manslaughter is an enhanced charge triggered by certain circumstances. Those include negligently causing the death of an elderly person; negligently causing the death of a person less than 18 years old; and negligently causing the death of fire or rescue personnel. Aggravated manslaughter is a first-degree felony punishable by life imprisonment. If you are facing this very serious charge, you need a Jacksonville manslaughter criminal defense lawyer by your side.

Self Defense

In Florida, you have a legal right to protect yourself from attacks. You may be justified in using deadly force if someone is attempting to murder you. Additionally, in Florida, if a perpetrator is committing a felony upon you in your home, the use of deadly force is justified.

The statute was intentionally written broadly.

1st degree Murder: A homicide committed intentionally with premeditation or malice aforethought.
Voluntary Manslaughter: The intentional killing of a human being, when the defendant had no prior intent to kill.
Involuntary Manslaughter: The unintentional killing of a human being.
Vehicular Manslaughter: A death that is unintentional and is the result of reckless driving, such as DUI.

To prove the crime of Manslaughter, the State must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • (Victim) is dead.

Give 2a, 2b, or 2c depending upon allegations and proof. 2. a. (Defendant) intentionally caused the death of (victim). 2. b. (Defendant) intentionally procured the death of (victim). 2. c. The death of (victim) was caused by the culpable negligence of (defendant).

However, the defendant cannot be guilty of manslaughter if the killing was either justifiable or excusable homicide as I have previously explained those terms.

Give only if 2(a) alleged and proved, and manslaughter is being defined as a lesser included offense of first degree premeditated murder.

In order to convict of manslaughter by intentional act, it is not necessary for the State to prove that the defendant had a premeditated intent to cause death, only an intent to commit an act which caused death. See Hall v. State, 951 So. 2d 91 (Fla. 2d DCA 2007).

Give only if 2b alleged and proved.

To "procure" means to persuade, induce, prevail upon or cause a person to do something.

Give only if 2c alleged and proved.

I will now define "culpable negligence" for you. Each of us has a duty to act reasonably toward others. If there is a violation of that duty, without any conscious intention to harm, that violation is negligence. But culpable negligence is more than a failure to use ordinary care toward others. In order for negligence to be culpable, it must be gross and flagrant. Culpable negligence is a course of conduct showing reckless disregard of human life, or of the safety of persons exposed to its dangerous effects, or such an entire want of care as to raise a presumption of a conscious indifference to consequences, or which shows wantonness or recklessness, or a grossly careless disregard for the safety and welfare of the public, or such an indifference to the rights of others as is equivalent to an intentional violation of such rights.

The negligent act or omission must have been committed with an utter disregard for the safety of others. Culpable negligence is consciously doing an act or following a course of conduct that the defendant must have known, or reasonably should have known, was likely to cause death or great bodily injury.

§ 782.07(2)-(4), Fla. Stat. Enhanced penalty if 2c alleged and proved. Give a, b, or c, as applicable.

If you find the defendant guilty of manslaughter, you must then determine whether the State has further proved beyond a reasonable doubt that:

a. (Victim) was at the time [an elderly person] [a disabled adult] whose death was caused by the neglect of (defendant), a caregiver.

b. (Victim) was a child whose death was caused by the neglect of (defendant), a caregiver.

c. (Victim) was at the time [an officer] [a firefighter] [an emergency medical technician] [a paramedic] who was at the time performing duties that were within the course of [his] [her] employment. The court now instructs you that (official title of victim) is [an officer] [a firefighter] [an emergency medical technician] [a paramedic].

Definitions. Give if applicable.

[email protected] means any person under the age of 18 years.

AElderly [email protected] means a person 60 years of age or older who is suffering from the infirmities of aging as manifested by advanced age, organic brain damage, or physical, mental, or emotional dysfunctioning, to the extent that the ability of the person to provide adequately for the person=s own care or protection is impaired.

ADisabled [email protected] means a person 18 years of age or older who suffers from a condition of physical or mental incapacitation due to developmental disability, organic brain damage, or mental illness, or who has one or more physical or mental limitations that restrict the person=s ability to perform the normal activities of daily living.

"Facility" means any location providing day or residential care or treatment for elderly persons or disabled adults. The term "facility" may include, but is not limited to, any hospital, training center, state institution, nursing home, assisted living facility, adult family-care home, adult day care center, group home, mental health treatment center, or continuing care community.

As applied to an Elderly Person or a Disabled Adult.

"Caregiver" means a person who has been entrusted with or has assumed responsibility for the care or the property of an elderly person or a disabled adult. "Caregiver" includes, but is not limited to, relatives, court-appointed or voluntary guardians, adult household members, neighbors, health care providers, and employees and volunteers of facilities.

As applied to a Child.

[email protected] means a parent, adult household member, or other person responsible for a child=s welfare.

§ 825.102(3)(a) or § 827.03(3)(a), Fla. Stat. Give 1 or 2 as applicable.

"Neglect of [a child"] [an elderly person"] [a disabled adult"] means:

1. A caregiver=s failure or omission to provide [a child] [an elderly person] [a disabled adult] with the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain [a child's] [an elderly person's] [a disabled adult's] physical and mental health, including, but not limited to, food, nutrition, clothing, shelter, supervision, medicine, and medical services that a prudent person would consider essential for the well-being of the [child] [elderly person] [disabled adult];


2. A caregiver's failure to make reasonable effort to protect [a child] [an elderly person] [a disabled adult] from abuse, neglect or exploitation by another person.

Repeated conduct or a single incident or omission by a caregiver that results in, or could reasonably be expected to result in, a substantial risk of death of [a child] [an elderly person] [a disabled adult] may be considered in determining neglect.

Definitions. As applied to Designated Personnel.

§ 112.191 and § 633.35, Fla. Stat.

"Firefighter" means any full-time duly employed uniformed firefighter employed by an employer, whose primary duty is the prevention and extinguishing of fires, the protection of life and property therefrom, the enforcement of municipal, county, and state fire prevention codes, as well as the enforcement of any law pertaining to the prevention and control of fires, who is certified by the Division of State Fire Marshal of the Department of Financial Services, who is a member of a duly constituted fire department of such employer or who is a volunteer firefighter.

§ 943.10(14), Fla. Stat.

"Officer" means any person employed or appointed as a full-time, part-time, or auxiliary law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or correctional probation officer.

§ 401.23, Fla. Stat.

"Emergency Medical Technician" means a person who is certified by the Department of Health to perform basic life support.

§ 401.23, Fla. Stat.

"Paramedic" means a person who is certified by the Department of Health to perform basic and advanced life support.

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