Criminal Defense of manslaughter in Louisiana is charged in the following circumstances, statute in blue below, and also when the accused may qualify for a different type of Murder charge but the District Attorney has a weak case. A criminal defense trial for manslaughter is procedurally like any other serious felony, in that it is a very serious charge that takes a tremendous effort and skill level to properly defend.
It is important to note here that there is a difference between what the police charge and what the District Attorney charges. The police arrest people on charges that they determine are the most appropriate under the circumstances. Police officers are not attorneys. The District Attorney will normally take the evidence of arrest and investigation and make a determination as to the proper charge, or the charge that the DA feels he/she can prove at a trial on the matter. What a police officer perceives and what can be proven at trial are often times two very different charges.
This is obviously a very serious charge and requires a very serious criminal defense. If you know someone that has been charged with manslaughter, you must do everything in your power to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney. The crime of manslaughter, as you can see below, is often charged when a crime would otherwise be first or second degree murder, but the defendant has the ability to show that there was ‘sudden passion’ or ‘heat of blood’ – terms of art that are defined in the Louisiana jurisprudence. This is an affirmative defense to a charge of first or second degree murder, and often time the criminal defense of murder charges are a serious effort to get the jury to come back with a lessor included crime like manslaughter. In an affirmative defense trial, the criminal defense attorney must assist the defendant in presenting evidence of the elements, ‘sudden passion’ or ‘heat of blood’, and the defendant bears this burden. Presenting an affirmative defense in a case like this takes great skill and experience, because the criminal defense is completely different from normal criminal trials in two distinct ways (1) the burden is on the defendant to prove the defense, unlike normally where the State bears all the burden; and (2) the defendant has to admit to the killing, and then offer one of the defenses. It is also a case where the defendant almost certainly will take the stand in his/her own defense – again, something that is not normal in most criminal defense trials.
If you, or someone you know, has been charged with manslaughter, hire a skilled criminal defense attorney immediately. Call The Ambeau Law Firm, and we will start the fight from the first day, and work diligently to get you the best outcome possible in your criminal defense matter.
La. R. S. 14:31. Manslaughter
A. Manslaughter is:
(1) A homicide which would be murder under either Article 30 (first degree murder) or Article 30.1 (second degree murder), but the offense is committed in sudden passion or heat of blood immediately caused by provocation sufficient to deprive an average person of his self-control and cool reflection. Provocation shall not reduce a homicide to manslaughter if the jury finds that the offender’s blood had actually cooled, or that an average person’s blood would have cooled, at the time the offense was committed; or
(2) A homicide committed, without any intent to cause death or great bodily harm.
(a) When the offender is engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of any felony not enumerated in Article 30 or 30.1, or of any intentional misdemeanor directly affecting the person; or
(b) When the offender is resisting lawful arrest by means, or in a manner, not inherently dangerous, and the circumstances are such that the killing would not be murder under Article 30 or 30.1.
B. Whoever commits manslaughter shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not more than forty years. However, if the victim killed was under the age of ten years, the offender shall be imprisoned at hard labor, without benefit of probation or suspension of sentence, for not less than ten years nor more than forty years.
Disclaimer: These codes may not be the most recent version. The Legislature of the State of Louisiana may have more current or accurate information. The Ambeau Law Firm makes no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the information contained on this page – please consult your attorney and/or check official sources.