Experienced Legal Representation for Manslaughter Charges in Maine
Serving the Regions of Portland, Augusta, Bangor, Saco and Biddeford
A manslaughter charge is one of the most serious criminal charges that you can face in the state of Maine. Belonging to the highest class of felony crimes, a conviction for manslaughter can results in substantial time behind bars, and a hefty fine. The seriousness of a charge for manslaughter makes having a good criminal defense attorney on your side an absolute necessity.
What is manslaughter?
Manslaughter, like murder, involves killing someone. However, it is not murder, because there are factors surrounding the death that make it a slightly less serious offense. These are often called “mitigating factors,” and are the difference between murder and manslaughter.
One of the differences between a charge for murder and one for manslaughter is the state of mind state of mind of the person behind the killing. A murder requires that the person intentionally, or knowingly, causes the death. If the death is only caused recklessly, or is caused by criminal negligence, then it's manslaughter, instead.
Recklessness is someone's state of mind when they actively, or consciously, disregard the risk that their conduct will lead to a certain result. Someone with a reckless state of mind isn't necessarily intending to hurt someone else, but is ignoring the fact that what they're doing most certainly could.
Criminal negligence, on the other hand, is failing to be aware of a risk that your conduct will produce a specific result. An example of criminal negligence would be spinning donuts in a snowy parking lot. Even though most of the lot is empty, you're risking losing control of your car and damaging other cars, or someone else's property. Not being aware of this risk is criminal negligence.
A murder charge can also turn into one for manslaughter if there is a mitigating factor involved. The mitigating factor is that the death was caused intentionally or knowingly, like a murder, but also came about as a result of extreme anger or fear, and that this anger or fear was the result of an adequate provocation.
In order for this mitigating factor to work, though, it's important that the provocation that leads to the extreme anger or fear has to be substantial. It cannot be induced, or brought about, by the person who ends up doing the killing. It also has to reasonably lead to a strong feeling of fear or anger – someone with a short temper won't be able to benefit from this mitigating factor more than someone who is often calm and complacent.
Penalties for manslaughter
Manslaughter is a Class A felony in Maine. Crimes of this type come with a maximum of 30 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
However, in Maine, crimes committed with a dangerous weapon are treated as one crime class worse than it would be, if no weapon were used. However, because Class A felonies are already the most serious class of crime in the state, the use of a dangerous weapon during a manslaughter will be taken into consideration when the judge determines the sentence, if you get convicted.
If convicted for manslaughter, in addition to the standard criminal sanctions that you could face, such as jail time and fines, there are also what are known as “collateral consequences.” These are obstacles that you could face as a result of having a serious felony on your criminal background. Collateral consequences come in a variety of shapes, but most often crop up when you're trying to find work. One collateral consequence of having a felony-level conviction in your past is that you have to disclose your criminal history on a job application. This often makes it more difficult to get a job, and sometimes makes you ineligible for certain kinds of employment.
How a criminal defense attorney can help
Decades behind bars, thousands in fines, and even more collateral consequences once released from prison are all daunting prospects. But they only need to be dealt with if you get convicted for a manslaughter charge. The best way to prevent being convicted is to fight against the charges to the best of your ability. Hiring a defense attorney is the best way to do this.
Manslaughter charges are criminal charges. They need to be proven by the prosecutor beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal defense attorneys like William T. Bly are professionals at raising reasonable doubts.
Charges for manslaughter provide lots of room for a criminal defense attorney to work. After learning all of the details of the case, defense attorneys formulate a strategy to attack the weakest points in the prosecution's case, and defend against its strongest arguments. Depending on the facts of your case, the best strategy might be, for example, to argue actual innocence, and claim that you did not actually commit the crime. Another strategy might be that you did commit the crime, but it was justified because of self-defense. Inside each strategy will be smaller moves, like excluding evidence, or finding character witnesses.
Attorney William T. Bly is a professional criminal defense attorney. With years of experience defending those charged with crimes in Maine, he has developed a knack at determining exactly what the best strategy is for each and every one of them. Knowing that no case is ever the same, attorney William T. Bly creates a unique defense strategy for every one of his clients, based on the facts on hand. His experience defending against criminal charges in Maine has also made him familiar with how the region's prosecutors handle their cases, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. All of this information is used to better defend you against a criminal charge for manslaughter.
The penalties are real, but they need to convict you, first. With William T. Bly on your side, you'll have one of the best criminal defense attorneys in the area standing between you and decades behind bars. Call his law office at (207) 571-8146.