Manslaughter charges are among the harshest convictions you could face in Colorado. If you or your loved one is facing such allegations, here are some laws you should be aware of.
Colorado law definition of manslaughter
A person commits the crime of manslaughter in Colorado if certain conditions are met. These include the following:
• They intentionally cause or aid another person to die by suicide.
• They knowingly kill another person pursuant to an agreement that they’ll receive money or something else of value for the killing.
For you to be convicted of manslaughter in Colorado, the prosecution must prove that you acted recklessly. This is a higher standard than negligence because your actions involve a substantial and unjustifiable risk of death or great bodily injury.
What makes manslaughter different from other types of murders?
The main difference between manslaughter and other types of homicide is the mental state of the person accused. For you to be guilty of murder, the prosecution must prove that you had the intent to kill or acted with extreme indifference to human life.
On the other hand, manslaughter requires a lower standard of proof. The prosecution only needs to show that you acted recklessly or knowingly killed another person pursuant to an agreement.
Penalties for manslaughter in Colorado
Under Colorado Revised Statutes 18-3-104, manslaughter is a class 4 felony, punishable by up to six years in prison and a maximum of $500,000 in fines. Additionally, you can face other consequences such as:
• Loss of your driver’s license
• Loss of your right to possess a firearm
What are some possible defenses?
You may be able to claim self-defense if you used force against another person to protect yourself from death or serious bodily injury. Alternatively, you can claim defense of others if you can prove to the court that while protecting someone else from being hurt by the deceased, you caused their death.
Colorado law understands that not all killings are the same. The difference between a few months or years in prison and lifetime incarceration comes down to the specific facts of your case and, more importantly, the evidence you and the prosecutor have. It’s important for you to be thorough in mounting a defense against the charges.