What is the Law on Manslaughter in Washington and What are the Punishments for it?
Homicides involve the killing of another human being. It does not matter what the killer’s intentions were or what the circumstances of the crime were. Homicides include both murders and manslaughter. The latter is a crime in which the culprit killed another human being without intending to do so and he/she also did not act in a premeditated manner. In manslaughter, the culprit acts recklessly or was negligent and could have avoided killing the other human had they acted with caution. Murders involve a premeditated intent to kill.
First or second-degree manslaughter
In the US, many states categorize manslaughter as either involuntary manslaughter or voluntary manslaughter. However, in the state of Washington, there is no distinguishing between involuntary and voluntary manslaughter. Instead, the state divides manslaughter as either a first-degree crime or a second-degree crime. Washington expressly prohibits both first- and second-degree crimes.
The first-degree manslaughter involves the reckless killing of a human being or intentionally and illegally killing a baby that has yet to be born into this world. In the latter instance, the crime involves doing serious injury to the pregnant mother. Washington laws deem first-degree murder to be a very serious crime on account of the fact that the crime happened because of pre-planning or because the culprit acted intentionally and with evil purpose.
We consider this kind of crime an intentional killing of a human being with a degree of premeditated action. They will charge you with first-degree manslaughter charges if you cause the death by acting with much indifference. The state charges you with first-degree manslaughter charges if you kill a person while committing a robbery or rape or burglary or arson or even kidnapping.
Second-degree manslaughter is a crime in which they kill a human being because the culprit acted in a criminally negligent manner. In second-degree manslaughter, there is no premeditation, and the act was not malicious. However, it does also include death caused while committing a felony. We can find you guilty of second-degree manslaughter if you caused the death of a person through a criminally negligent act. Second-degree manslaughter is a Class B felony in the state of Washington.
Punishments for manslaughter in Washington
Manslaughter in the first degree is a class A felony in Washington and invites harsh punishment. If convicted of this crime, you could spend the rest of your life in prison and/or you may also have to pay a fine of fifty thousand dollars.
Manslaughter in the second degree is a Class B felony in Washington and invites a stiff prison sentence. If convicted of this crime, they could sentence you to up to ten years behind bars and/or you may also have to pay a fine of twenty thousand dollars.
The state of Washington also considers vehicular homicide to be manslaughter. In a vehicular manslaughter charge, the culprit has caused the death of a human being with any kind of motor vehicle. The state further states that such death must occur within three years of the incident and the death occurs because of injuries sustained in the accident.
They can convict you of vehicular manslaughter if you drove recklessly and caused the death of a human being. Or, you could have been driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and you caused the death of a human being. Finally, you can face vehicular manslaughter charges if you drove without regard for the safety of other people.
Vehicular manslaughter is a Class A felony. When you kill someone with your vehicle and you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then you will spend an additional two years for each previous driving under the influence offense.