Manslaughter Defense

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Las Vegas Manslaughter Defense Lawyer

Experienced Advocate Representing Those Accused of Manslaughter in Las Vegas

Nevada law recognizes several different forms of manslaughter, including voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, and vehicular manslaughter. Each of these offenses carry serious repercussions if convicted. 

If you are arrested for manslaughter in Las Vegas, you need an experienced attorney who will fight the charges against you. At the Miley Law Firm, P.C., we offer superior legal representation for those accused of violent crimes. Call our office at (702) 850-3600 to speak directly with a proven Las Vegas manslaughter defense lawyer.

What Is Manslaughter?

Under NRS 200.040, manslaughter is defined as the “unlawful killing of a human being, without malice, express or implied, and without any mixture of deliberation.” In other words, manslaughter is the act of killing someone else when the killing was not premeditation or committed out of malice.

Vehicular manslaughter, the killing of another person by means of a vehicle, is a separate offense codified under NRS 484B.657. Murder is also a separate offense and carries a harsher punishment than manslaughter if convicted.

Manslaughter can be considered either voluntary or involuntary, depending on the circumstances. Voluntary manslaughter occurs when someone kills another person in the "heat of passion" after having been provoked in an extreme way. Even though the killing was intentional, it is still considered a lesser offense than murder because it was not premeditated. Involuntary manslaughter occurs when someone kills another person unintentionally  during the process of committing an unlawful or negligent act.

Whether you are charged with murder or manslaughter, you need a Las Vegas manslaughter lawyer with a proven track record to defend your rights and your freedom. For over 20 years, the Miley Law Firm has been representing individuals charged with felony offenses, including manslaughter. 

What Is Involuntary Manslaughter?

Nevada law defines involuntary manslaughter as killing someone else without any intention to do so. Involuntary manslaughter can occur while committing either an unlawful act or a lawful act “without due caution or circumspection.”

If someone commits an act that naturally tends to destroy the life of a human being, and that act does lead to someone's death, the offender can be charged with involuntary manslaughter. Even though the offender did not intend for anyone to die, the law still holds people accountable for causing someone else's death due to their negligent or dangerous behavior. Involuntary manslaughter is considered a category D felony that can be sentenced with state imprisonment.

However, if someone's actions cause another person to die while they were attempting or committing a felony crime, the offender may be charged with murder instead of manslaughter. 

What Are the Punishments for Involuntary Manslaughter?

If you are convicted of involuntary manslaughter, you will be found guilty of a category D felony, punishable by one to four years in state prison and a fine of not more than $5,000. While the maximum sentence for involuntary manslaughter is substantially less than a murder conviction, it will still significantly impact your life.

If convicted of a felony, you could not only lose your freedom for up to four years; you could lose your professional license, get fired from your job, lose your custodial rights, and lose your right to possess a firearm. 

What Is Voluntary Manslaughter?

Nevada law, NRS 200.050, defines voluntary manslaughter as the unlawful killing of another person committed because of a “serious, highly provoking injury inflicted upon the person killing, sufficient to excite an irresistible passion, in a reasonable person, or an attempt by the person killed to commit a serious personal injury on the person killing.”

Voluntary manslaughter typically requires:

  • Adequate provocation, and
  • An inadequate “cooling off period.”

The injury or act done to the killing person must be so egregious that a reasonable person would have reacted in a similar way. Often referred to as a “heat of passion” crime, it generally requires that little time passed between the “injury” and the actual killing. The classic example is when a husband or wife walks in on a cheating spouse.

What Are the Punishments for Voluntary Manslaughter?

Voluntary manslaughter is a category B felony, punishable by one to ten years in state prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000. If you are facing charges for killing another person, you need the help of a highly-qualified Las Vegas manslaughter defense lawyer. Your future may depend on it.

At the Miley Law Firm, we treat every client with respect and dignity regardless of the charges. Our clients are rarely hardened criminals. In many cases, the people that walk through our door were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, or there were extenuating circumstances. In other cases, they are completely innocent of the charges. No matter what your situation, we will try to achieve a favorable disposition in your case. Call today for a free consultation.

What Is Vehicular Manslaughter?

Nevada law codifies vehicular manslaughter under NRS 484B.657. A person may be convicted of vehicular manslaughter if, while driving, they “proximately cause the death of another person through an act or omission that constitutes simple negligence.” Vehicular manslaughter is considered a misdemeanor, but there are enhancements if the act was committed in a work, construction, or pedestrian safety zone.

Additional penalties could include:

  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • Six months of imprisonment
  • 120 hours of community service

As with the other forms of manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter is a serious offense that carries severe penalties if convicted. It is always recommended that you contact a Las Vegas manslaughter defense lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest.

What Are Possible Defenses to Manslaughter?

There are several defenses that arise to the crime of manslaughter. In order to prove your innocence or fight for a reduction of the charges, you need an accomplished attorney who knows what it takes to win. 

Common defenses to manslaughter include:

  • Self-defense - Nevada law recognizes that a person may kill another in self-defense to protect themselves or someone else from certain death or great bodily injury. The danger to the person must be so urgent and pressing that the killing was necessary to prevent harm or death. (NRS 200.200)
  • Mistaken identity - A witness could make a false identification, or the evidence could show that someone else was the perpetrator.
  • Insanity - If you were not of sound mind or lacked capacity, you can enter a plea of not guilty by means of insanity. 
  • Lack of evidence - A prosecutor must still prove the case against you; without sufficient evidence, they may be unable to show that you were responsible for the act.

What Is Justifiable Homicide?

Nevada recognizes that some homicides may be justifiable. According to NRS 200.120, a killing that is committed in necessary self-defense is justifiable. Additionally, if the killing is done in defense of an occupied habitation or vehicle against someone who intends to commit a crime of violence, it may be justified. 

This statute also provides that under the following situations, there is no duty to retreat before using deadly force if the person:

  • “Is not the original aggressor;
  • Has a right to be present at the location where deadly force is used; and
  • Is not actively engaged in conduct in furtherance of criminal activity at the time deadly force is used.”

Is Fear Enough for Justifiable Homicide?

As noted in NRS 200.130, bare fear is not enough to justify a killing. The circumstances must have been “sufficient to excite the fears of a reasonable person.” It must also be shown that the person killing acted under those fears and not for revenge.

To show that the killing was done as a result of more than just bare fear, it must be proven that you:

  • Knew or reasonably believed the person killed was entering or attempting to enter the occupied habitation or vehicle unlawfully and with force;
  • Knew or reasonably believed that the person was committing or attempting to commit a violent crime;
  • Did not provoke the person that was killed.

Why Should I Hire an Attorney?

If you are charged with manslaughter or another homicide offense, your entire life could be turned upside down. Even allegations of a violent crime can ruin your reputation, affect your custodial rights, and result in suspension of your employment. A Las Vegas manslaughter lawyer can help fight the charges and protect your innocence. 

Without the help of an attorney, you may get the maximum penalties allowed under Nevada law. An experienced lawyer will subpoena the evidence in your case, including police audio and video from body cameras. In any criminal case, it is essential to conduct an independent investigation of the facts to determine what really happened. 

When Should I Hire an Attorney?

It is generally in your best interest to hire an attorney as soon as possible after an arrest. Early intervention may prove crucial in manslaughter or murder cases. At the Miley Law Firm, we can argue on your behalf to obtain favorable bail terms or intervene in the investigatory phase conducted by law enforcement.

You have rights, but you have to exercise those rights. Hiring an attorney as soon as possible will help you to obtain a fair disposition on your case. We can help you even before charges are formally filed. Call our office to speak with a knowledgeable Las Vegas manslaughter defense lawyer who can help you throughout the legal process, including sealing your record post-conviction.

Contact the Miley Law Firm for a Free Case Consultation

If you have been arrested for manslaughter in Las Vegas, contact the Miley Law Firm for a free case consultation. Attorney Edward R. Miley is a dedicated advocate that will protect your rights and defend your reputation. He is a former Justice of the Peace Pro Tempore for the Las Vegas Justice Court and has been practicing for over two decades.

Call 702-942-0600 or fill out our online contact form to speak directly with a Las Vegas manslaughter lawyer. All consultations are free and confidential. Get the legal advice you need to make informed decisions about your case. You deserve an honest, hard-working attorney that always puts your interests first. Call today to get the help you need.

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