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Manslaughter in New Jersey

New Jersey Statutes – Title 2C The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice – 2C:11-4 discusses manslaughter. Criminal homicide (in other words, murder) becomes aggravated manslaughter when a person:

  1. recklessly causes death under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life; or
  2. causes the death of another person while fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer in violation of New Jersey Statutes.

According to New Jersey Statutes, manslaughter is an intentional killing distinguishable from murder. A hypothetical example would be if Dan pulled a gun at Vic while walking down the street. Suppose Vic had been harassing Dan in the past, and once backed Dan into an alley with a knife. If Dan saw Vic, after several weeks, and on the particular incident, Vic did not approach Dan, Dan may be convicted for manslaughter for shooting Vic. Dan could argue his killing was not reckless because he was provoked by Vic’s foul remarks and threats that went on for weeks in the past, but a psychiatrist or other witnesses might need to testify on whether Dan could have stopped from his killing. If weeks lapsed since he last saw Vic, there would be cooling time, making his killing an extreme indifference to human life, without provocation, unless Dan had defenses.

In New Jersey, a person may use deadly force in self defense if he’s (1) without fault, (2) confronted with unlawful force, and (3) threatened with imminent death or great bodily harm. In the hypothetical, although Vic threatened Dan before, at the time of Vic’s shooting, Dan was not confronted with unlawful force, or threatened with imminent death or great bodily harm. Thus, Dan could unlikely argue the shooting was in self defense.

Aggravated manslaughter may be a crime of the first degree and upon conviction, a person may, be sentenced to imprisonment between 10 and 30 years.

When a defendant does not have any defenses to a crime, s/he may plea guilty as a means to bargain for reduced sentencing or monetary penalties. A guilty plea is a knowing and voluntary waiver of a defendant’s US Constitution 6th Amendment rights. Before a court accepts a guilty plea, the judge must personally advise the defendant of the: (1) defendant’s right to trial and that a plea of guilty waives that right, (2) defendant’s right to plead not guilty, (3) the right to representation by counsel, (4) critical elements of the charges, (5) maximum and minimum sentence possible, (6) waiver of the right to appeal from the sentence, with the exception of the right to appeal sentencing errors, and (7) government’s right to use the defendant’s statements under the oath in a subsequent perjury action. Failure to advise the defendant of each point renders the plea involuntary.

When charged with manslaughter, engage an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney who bargains for reduced prison time and monetary penalties. Contact the Law Office of Jason A. Volet at (732) 503-8968 or fill out the form on the right.

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