Colorado Springs Manslaughter Defense Attorney
Get Legal Help After a Felony Manslaughter Arrest in Colorado
Under Colorado's criminal laws, "manslaughter" is one of several different types of criminal homicide, or the killing of another human being. Colorado law defines "manslaughter" as recklessly causing another person's death or intentionally causing or aiding another person to commit suicide.
Manslaughter is a Class 4 Felony
Manslaughter in Colorado is a Class 4 felony, and persons who are convicted of manslaughter in Colorado face the possibility of serving several years in state prison, along with fines, parole requirements, and other penalties. As of 2011, a person convicted of a Class 4 felony in Colorado faced two-to-six years of prison, followed by at least three years of parole, in addition to fines, court costs, and other penalties. The court considers the facts involved in the case, including the convicted person's past behavior, when deciding whether to set a prison term at the low end or high end of the two- to six-year range.
Exemption for Health Care Professionals
Colorado law specifically exempts healthcare professionals from the manslaughter law if, by withholding life-saving care, the health care professional was merely following the wishes of the deceased person as expressed in a living will, a do not resuscitate order, or a similar legal document giving instructions for the person's end of life care. However, the law does not exempt people who assist others in willfully taking their own lives.
How is Manslaughter Different from Murder?
Manslaughter differs from murder in several ways. First Colorado's laws against murder define that crime as the killing of another person either intentionally or with "grave indifference" as to whether one's behavior might result in another person's death. The Colorado Supreme Court has held that both of these indicate that a person convicted of murder must be proven to meet a higher standard of responsibility than someone convicted of manslaughter, whom the prosecutor must only show had been acting "recklessly" in a way that resulted in someone else's death.
In addition, Colorado courts will recognize that a person accused of manslaughter may have been provoked to attack for instance, if the other person assaulted the accused person first. Acting with provocation or without a specific intent to kill the other person is a key element in many manslaughter cases. When choosing an experienced defense lawyer, it's important to choose one who understands the importance of the provocation requirement and the role it might play in each individual manslaughter case.
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In taking these factors into account, the Colorado legislature requires lesser penalties for manslaughter than for murder. However, manslaughter is still a crime that involves the death of another human being, and charges of manslaughter should never be taken lightly. If you are facing charges of felony manslaughter or another homicide crime in Colorado, please contact The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. today at (719) 475-2555 for a free consultation.
Experienced Colorado Springs felony lawyer Timothy Bussey draws on his experience as a former Colorado district attorney to help each client build an aggressive defense that protects the accused person's constitutional rights while fighting for the best possible outcome in their case.