What Is Aggravated Manslaughter In The First Degree?
When you think of manslaughter, you might think of a homicide without the intent to kill someone. While this is a component of aggravated manslaughter, there are a few more elements that need to be addressed in order to understand the charge that arises. The defendant is charged with first-degree aggravated manslaughter when there is an intent present to cause a serious physical injury to a peace officer or a police officer. The threat of physical injury is present when the officer is on duty. Prosecutors will need to be able to show that the defendant knew that the victim was an officer of the law and that the actions caused the death of that officer.
Another element to consider is that the defendant has an intent to cause the death of the officer while the officer is performing duties that are described by the law. However, the acts don’t constitute a murder because the defendant acts under an influence of an emotional issue. This is where the difference lies between murder and aggravated manslaughter. There is no clear thought process of slaying the officer, but actions that the defendant takes part in will result in the death, or could result in the death, of the officer.
There is another issue that could relate to this charge. The prosecution could charge the defendant with aggravated manslaughter in the death of a citizen instead of a police or peace officer. The defendant would take part in activity that can knowingly cause the death of another and still participates in that activity anyway. The charge is considered a class B felony. It’s not at the top of the list of felonies, but the defendant can still be punished with up to 20 years in prison and $200,000 in fines. First-degree manslaughter is often sought when the defendant is trying to get away from a police officer either in a car or on foot.
An example that would be easy to understand is if a spouse comes home to discover that the other spouse is having an affair. Seeing the activity, the spouse kills the other spouse or the person who the person is with. This is considered a crime that takes place in the heat of passion in some situations as the defendant doesn’t intend to really kill anyone, but death occurs because of actions that take place.
Another example would be if someone robs a store and runs from the police. The person would get into a car and hit an officer while trying to get away, killing the officer who is on duty. This would be considered manslaughter instead of murder as the intent was not to kill the officer, but the officer was killed anyway because of the action of fleeing from the scene by the defendant.
There are several defenses that can be used when it comes to aggravated manslaughter. A NYC criminal attorney can declare that the defendant didn’t intend to kill anyone and only provoked thoughts of harm. Another defense would be that the defendant was forced to commit a crime or that the defendant acted under the influence of some kind of drug or a mental condition that prevented the clear thinking of the actions that took place.
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