Unlike murder which requires you to plan your actions, manslaughter is different. The latter covers most other forms of non-premeditated killings in Washington State. A conviction for this offense is quite serious and comes with life-altering consequences.
The penalties range from several months to a lifetime in prison. The maximum possible sentences and the least possible sentences are dependent on the facts of the case. An experienced Seattle criminal justice attorney can analyze the case, explain the possibilities, and come up with ways to mitigate the harsh outcomes.
Is Manslaughter a Felony or Misdemeanor in Seattle?
All forms of manslaughter in Washington State are charged as felonies. This shows just how serious the crime is and how critical it is to fight to keep it off your records.
Different forms of manslaughter crimes fall into different categories of felonies.
First-degree manslaughter in Seattle is a Class A felony. Offenses in this category have the potential to attract the strongest forms of penalties in Washington State.
If you are charged with second-degree manslaughter, you might attract penalties for a Class B felony.
Vehicular manslaughter is a Class A felony. However, it can come with several other drug and driving-related penalties.
How Does Washington Punish Convicts of Manslaughter in the First Degree?
A conviction in this degree of manslaughter carries grave punishment in Seattle. But first, the prosecution must prove the following elements of the offense:
- You killed an unborn child by inflicting harm on its mother
- In your recklessness, you caused the death of another person
Your actions need to have been intentional, willful, and with no regard for the safety of the other person. If this is proven adequately, you might be punished with:
- 78-102 months in prison
- Life in prison without parole
Notably, the number of years awarded depends on your criminal history. Convicts with no criminal history might get a lesser sentence than those with felonies on their record. Other persons that could be punished in this category are people accused of murder and negotiate for reduced charges through a plea bargain.
What are the Penalties for Manslaughter in the Second Degree?
Manslaughter in the second degree is a lower level crime compared to the manslaughter in the first degree. However, the penalties in the second degree are also serious. The RWC 9A.32.070 defines this crime as killing someone out of:
- Criminal negligence
This happens when one fails to pay attention to the significant risk a wrong action could have had. If convicted, you risk:
- 21-27 months
- Up to $20,000 in fines
Manslaughter in the second degree is sometimes sought as a reduction from a homicide charge. At other times, it could be an independent charge. Regardless of how the charges came about, it is critical to strive to escape the grave penalties.
What Happens if the Manslaughter Resulted From a Vehicle Accident?
You might be charged with manslaughter in this category if you caused the death of another person while operating a motorcycle, taxi, bus, truck, or car. Penalties await you if you kill someone out of:
- Disregard for their safety
- Reckless driving
- Driving while drunk or high on drugs
Notably, the victim needs to have died on the spot or within three years from the day of the accident. The offense is punishable with:
- Up to $50,000 in fines
- 6 ½ to 8 ½ years in prison
- Life imprisonment
- Community service
- Alcohol treatment program
- 2-year license suspension
Other consequences include:
- Travel restrictions
- Difficulties getting vehicle insurance in future
- Jeopardized professional license
- Job loss and difficulties finding another job in future
The penalties for this crime usually depend on the circumstances. For instance, each prior offense could attract two additional years on top of your sentence. An experienced manslaughter lawyer in Seattle can tell you what to expect.
Is Manslaughter Punished Differently Under Federal Law?
Committing an act that leads to death in an unlawful manner is charged as involuntary manslaughter under Federal law. It is a Class C felony, and the penalties might include:
- 10-16 months imprisonment
The state where the felony occurred might receive the authority to prosecute you. But if the federal government has an interest in the case, the U.S. Attorney in the federal district could get involved in the matter.
What Aggravates or Mitigates Manslaughter Penalties?
Two convicts of the same manslaughter charges might receive totally different sentences in Seattle.
The severity of your crime might increase if:
- You killed a member of the military service or law enforcement
- You killed an elderly person, a minor, or a person with a disability
- You have a history of reckless or criminal behavior
Factors that might ease the severity of the repercussions of manslaughter include:
- Good deeds to the community
- Your ability to reform
- Physical or mental illness
- Showing genuine remorse or accepting responsibility
- Little to no criminal history
- Facts and circumstances of the case
How Does Legal Help Alter the Outcome of Manslaughter Charges?
Leaving manslaughter charges to chance is risking the most severe penalties. Admitting guilt to the charges brought against you is equally risky. A seasoned manslaughter lawyer in Seattle can better the outcome of your case in several ways. Depending on your situation, they can make it possible for you to continue with your normal life.
Having strong legal representation makes a lot of difference. But this can only begin when you schedule a consultation with a manslaughter lawyer in Seattle. Immediately you are charged or as soon as you anticipate being charged with any form of manslaughter, consider retaining a legal representative. They will defend you aggressively and fight for your rights.
Lawyers Defending Accused Persons in Washington State
A conviction can have many grave repercussions depending on the exact nature of the crime. And if you don’t invest in your defense, you are likely to get the worst possible outcome, which might be difficult to reverse.
Our attorneys have been defending accused persons in Washington State for a long time. They will investigate the criminal matter and prepare to defend you promptly. Speak to us today, and we will solve your legal problems.