If the state believes that you played a role in someone else’s death, you can face serious criminal charges. Sometimes, an individual faces allegations of capital murder, a crime that can carry the death penalty or life-long incarceration. Other scenarios might lead to manslaughter charges.
Manslaughter is less serious than murder because it does not involve the intent to deprive someone of their life. However, the penalties for manslaughter can still be significant. Under Arkansas law, manslaughter is a class C felony that carries up to $10,000 in fines and between three and 10 years in prison.
What kinds of situations lead to manslaughter charges in Arkansas?
When someone commits a crime in the heat of passion
Sometimes, a situation is so extreme or stressful that it leaves someone unable to make a rational decision. Discovering someone trying to abuse your child might push you into a rage where you cannot control yourself, for example.
Individuals who engage in a violent act that would typically be murder may face manslaughter charges instead if the situation involved intense emotions that affected their rational thought processes.
When someone causes or assists with a suicide
If you abused someone and repeatedly told them that they should kill themselves, you could potentially face criminal charges if they eventually follow through with your suggestion. In Arkansas, it is manslaughter to cause someone to kill themselves or assist them with that process.
If you know someone is suicidal, you may need to report them to the authorities or to their family members to avoid allegations that you have criminal responsibility for their actions.
When someone causes death through recklessness
If someone engages in reckless behavior, like drag racing on city streets, and they caused the death of another person, the state can charge them with manslaughter even if they did not intend to harm another person. Their reckless behavior combined with the tragic outcome can be reason enough for charges.
The state can also charge someone with manslaughter if they caused the death of another as a secondary consequence of committing a felony or fleeing the police. Learning more about the unique Arkansas laws relating to murder and manslaughter offenses can help those facing charges prepare a defense.