Bergen County Manslaughter Lawyers

Fort Lee NJ Manslaughter Attorney

     A conviction for manslaughter in New Jersey can have devastating consequences on not only your life but on your families as well.  There are two types of manslaughter offenses in New Jersey, Reckless Manslaughter (Criminal Homicide) and Passion / Provocation Manslaughter; which offense you are charged with will depend on the underline facts of your case. The governing statute in New Jersey for Manslaughter is N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4.  The Law Offices of Marshall, Bonus, Proetta & Oliverhas seven criminal defense attorneys on staff, including three former prosecutors. If you or a loved one is charged with manslaughter in New Jersey we can help. Here is some important information with regards to the offense of manslaughter, including the requisite elements.

Reckless Manslaughter {Criminal Homicide}: N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4(b)1

A defendant will be convicted of reckless manslaughter, also known as criminal homicide, if the state can prove beyond a reasonable doubt three material elements.  Specifically, the prosecution must prove that a person died, that the defendant caused the said death and lastly, that the defendant acted recklessly by “consciously disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk.

“The risk must have been of such a nature and degree that considering the nature and purpose of the defendant’s conduct and the circumstances known to him, its disregard involved a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the defendant’s situation.”

Passion / Provocation Manslaughter: N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4(b)2

Passion/Provocation manslaughter occurs when a homicide, which would otherwise be considered a murder under the Criminal Code,  is committed in the “heat of passion” (described below) resulting from “reasonable provocation”. Just like Capitol Murder, passion / provocation manslaughter is a purposeful crime, meaning that the defendant intended to kill the victim.  The alleged provocation must be so egregious that it would cause an “ordinary reasonable person” to commit the type of violence that results in a fatality.

There are four key elements which must be presented by defense counsel before an otherwise Capitol Murder charge will   be reduced to a passion / provocation manslaughter offense. Specifically, the alleged “provocation” must be adequate; the defendant did not have have the time to “cool off” between the provocation and the actual murder; the provocation must have actually impassioned the defendant; and the defendant did not actually “cool off” before committing the murder.

Just like reckless manslaughter, the state must prove three material elements beyond a reasonable doubt. They are as follows, that a person died; that the defendant caused the said death and lastly that the defendant acted purposely but also in the “heat of passion” from  reasonable provocation.

Applicable Penalties if Convicted: 

Unlike aggravated manslaughter, the offense of manslaughter is a crime of the second degree. In New Jersey a conviction for a second degree crime carries with it a presumption of incarceration and that time period ranges from five to ten years.

Powerful Criminal Defense Firm

The Law Offices of Marshall, Bonus, Proetta & Oliverhas over 100 years of combined experience on staff. Further, as stated earlier we have seven criminal defense attorneys on staff, which makes us one of the biggest criminal defense firms in the state let alone Bergen County. As you can tell, a manslaughter charges carries with it a significantly less prison sentence than say a capitol murder and even an aggravated manslaughter charge. If you or some one you know has been charged with manslaughter it is imperative that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Please feel free to contact any one of our Bergen County offices for an initial consultation.