Nevada Animal Owner Manslaughter Attorneys

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 What is Manslaughter?

Manslaughter is defined as the unlawful killing of another individual. It is not considered murder due to a surrounding or mitigating circumstances.

Typically, an individual will be charged with manslaughter when they did not plan to, or intend to, kill the victim.

What is the Difference between Manslaughter and Murder?

Murder and manslaughter are different criminal charges. The difference is based on the state of mind of the perpetrator, or defendant.

Murder typically requires:

  • Malice;
  • Premeditation; and
  • Planning.

Manslaughter, as previously noted, is the unlawful killing of another individual without malice but with:

  • A conscious disregard for human life;
  • Recklessness; or
  • Criminal negligence.

Murder may be mitigated to manslaughter due to mitigating factors or circumstances surrounding the killing.

What is a Mitigating Factor?

In the context of criminal law, mitigating factors serve to decrease the penalties that are associated with a criminal act. For example, if a defendant is very young or has a low mental capacity, they may or may not have understood the nature of their criminal actions.

When the age and mental capacity of the defendant are presented as mitigating factors to a crime, the penalties that are associated with that crime may decrease. If a defendant is found to be mentally incompetent, they may be sent to a mental hospital instead of being sent to jail or prison.

What are the Two Types of Manslaughter?

There are two categories of manslaughter, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. Voluntary manslaughter occurs when an individual kills another human being.

The victim’s death is a result of the perpetrator’s heat of passion. In other words, voluntary manslaughter is an act of killing that would typically be defined as murder but was committed in response to an adequate provocation.

For example, if an individual walks into their home, catches their spouse cheating, and kills one of the individuals. The perpetrator is unable to control their actions and inflicts an injury upon another individual that causes their death.

An adequate provocation is an event or fact that is sufficient to incite a normal individual to sudden and intense passion. Courts commonly accept certain examples of adequate provocation, including:

  • Conduct or an act that is sufficient to deprive a reasonable individual of self-control;
  • The provocation actually provoked the defendant;
  • The time between the provocation and the actual killing cannot be long enough for reasonable person to cool off; and
  • The defendant actually never cooled off.

Involuntary manslaughter is homicide that occurs without:

  • Intent;
  • Premeditation; or
  • Deliberation.

Involuntary manslaughter may also occur when an individual unintentionally kills another individual due to a lack of care. Involuntary manslaughter, in general, occurs on who man occasions, including:

  • Where there is a death attributed to recklessness or criminal negligence; or
  • From an unlawful act that is a misdemeanor or a low-level felony.

For example, in a vehicular manslaughter, a death occurs during a traffic violation, for example, driving under the influence. In an involuntary manslaughter case, an individual dies as a result of the actions of the defendant although the defendant did not intend for that to happen.

Another example is if an individual allows their vicious pet to roam at large. Involuntary manslaughter charges may also result from criminal negligence or during a misdemeanor crime, such as petty theft.

The exact definition of what constitutes involuntary manslaughter as well as the elements that are required for the prosecution to prove it occurred will vary by state. The most common element of involuntary manslaughter, however, is that the killing was accidental.

In the majority of cases, the prosecution will be required to show that the actions of the defendant were grossly negligent. In general, this means that the actions of the defendant demonstrated a gross and, in some cases, reckless disregard for a reasonable standard of care.

One example of this would be when an individual kills a pedestrian because they were texting while driving. Another example would be if a boater was operating their boat while they were intoxicated.

Involuntary manslaughter may be charged as a misdemeanor crime or as a felony crime, depending on the state and the specific circumstances of the case. The category charged will also dictate the severity of the penalty involved.

The common elements of an involuntary manslaughter charges include facts that show the following:

  • The defendant’s actions are what caused the death of another individual;
  • The defendant’s actions were inherently dangerous or they engaged in conduct with reckless disregard; and
  • The defendant knew, or should have known, that their actions would put the lives of another human being at risk.

It is important to note that not all of the actions that were engaged in by the defendant must be inherently dangerous in order for this element to be met. For example, suppose scaffolding was installed during construction, which is normal for the industry.

However, if the scaffolding supervisor failed to properly secure the scaffolding and a pedestrian walking below is killed as a result of the loose scaffolding falling, the supervisor may be held criminally responsible and charged with involuntary manslaughter. In the State of Nevada, there is a separate manslaughter charge that criminalizes using an animal to kill another human being.

What is the Definition of Manslaughter in Nevada?

In Nevada, manslaughter is defined as the unlawful killing of an individual. It is distinguished from murder in that the killing is not committed with malice or thought.

Manslaughter may be voluntary or involuntary in Nevada.

How is Involuntary Manslaughter Defined in Nevada?

Involuntary manslaughter is defined as the intentional killing of a human being in the State of Nevada. In other words, the perpetrator harms another individual but did not intend to do so.

If an individual intentionally kills another individual, it is considered voluntary manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter in the State of Nevada is a Class D crime.

A conviction of involuntary manslaughter carries a prison sentence of one to four years as well as a $5,000 fine.

What am I Being Accused of if I have been Charged with NRS 200.240?

NRS 200.240 is a Nevada statute that makes an owner of an animal that kills criminally responsible for the victim’s death. The owner can be charged with manslaughter.

Why am I Being Charged for What My Pet Did?

In the State of Nevada, any owner or custodian of a dangerous or vicious animal may be charged with manslaughter if they:

  • Knowingly own a dangerous or vicious animal;
  • Negligently or willfully allow that animal to go at large; and
  • The animal, while roaming at large, kills a human who is not at fault.

Will I be Charged with Voluntary or Involuntary Manslaughter?

Under NRS 200.240, the owner of the animal can be charged with involuntary manslaughter if their pet causes the death of another individual in Nevada.

What is the Criminal Sentence if I am Convicted for a Death Caused by My Pet?

In Nevada, involuntary manslaughter is a Category D felony. The punishment a convicted defendant may face for this crime is:

  • 19 months to four years in state prison;
  • $5,000 fine; or
  • Time in prison and paying a criminal fine.

Should I Contact an Attorney about My Case?

Although your pet may have gotten you into a predicament, you can still defend yourself against an involuntary manslaughter charge. If you have been charged with involuntary manslaughter as a result of the actions of your pet, you should contact a Nevada criminal attorney immediately.

A manslaughter conviction can have serious legal consequences, including prison time and criminal fines. Your attorney can present any available defenses in court and represent you during each court appearance you are required to make.

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