Murder is defined as homicide with malice and homicide is the unlawful killing of a human being. The term malice can range from intent to kill or disregard for human life. In Utah, a person can be charged with manslaughter instead of murder when the killing wasn’t done with the intent to kill.

What is Manslaughter?

Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being that isn’t considered murder because of mitigating circumstances. In general, the law has two types of manslaughter: voluntary and involuntary.

What is Voluntary Manslaughter?

Voluntary manslaughter occurs when a person was provoked into killing a person.

What is Involuntary Manslaughter?

Involuntary manslaughter occurs when an individual kills another person because of lack of care.

How is Murder Defined in Utah?

Utah defines murder in two ways. A person can be charged with murder if they cause the death of a human being because of extreme, reckless disregard for human life. But someone can be charged with manslaughter if murder is committed.

Why Is Murder Sometimes Reduced to Manslaughter?

Murder involves the defendant’s state of mind at the time the killing occurred. Murder requires premeditation and deliberation along with malice. A person is charged with manslaughter when the death wasn’t planned and there are circumstances involved in the killing, like heat of passion.

Sometimes, new evidence comes to light or the prosecution cannot find evidence that the defendant intended to kill the victim. However, if there is evidence showing that the defendant did in fact kill the defendant, than the charges may be reduced to manslaughter instead of releasing the defendant from any liability. Other times, a prosecutor and a defendant may strike a deal where the defendant agrees to confess to manslaughter in exchange for reducing the original and more serious murder charge.

Is Manslaughter a First Degree Felony in Utah?

No, in Utah, manslaughter is considered a second degree felony.

How Long Will I Get If Convicted of Manslaughter?

If convicted of manslaughter, a defendant can be sentenced to one to 15 years in a Utah state prison. The defendant may also be ordered to pay restitution.

Should I Talk to a Lawyer about a Manslaughter Charge?

 Yes. An Utah criminal lawyer will help you determine which defense is best to use and how to proceed with your case.