A person charged in the accidental killing of another can either be charged with voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, depending on the circumstances of the situation and usually revolving around the degree of reckless and negligent behavior on the part of the defendant. Defenses against manslaughter charges can be similar to other homicide charges, but there are a few other options as well.
An experienced manslaughter defense attorney may choose to use one or more of the following strategies in defending their client:
Self-Defense. This is perhaps the most common of all manslaughter defenses. An attorney must be able to prove that a defendant reasonably suspected that they were in imminent danger of being killed or seriously harmed. They must also be able to prove that there was not an over-reaction on the amount of force used to protect ones self. Sometimes, in a murder case, when this defense is used, a charge may be reduced from murder down to a plea of manslaughter, resulting in a lesser penalty.
Accidental. A defendant may be able to show that the death was the result of an accident. In cases where a dismissal may not be the outcome, it may be possible to have a charge reduced from one of voluntary manslaughter, which has an element of intent attached to it, to one of involuntary manslaughter, which only has some form of recklessness or neglect.
Innocence. A prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person did actually commit manslaughter. In some cases, it is possible to attach an alibi to a case or to introduce evidence that would create a reasonable doubt, leading to a dismissal of charges.
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