Essentially, manslaughter charges indicate that the defendant had no intention to kill the victim and didn't plan it beforehand. However, his actions were reckless or negligent enough that he could have avoided killing if he'd acted appropriately.
In Washington the state recognizes several different types of related crimes: first-degree manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter and vehicular homicide.
First-Degree Manslaughter in Washington
In Washington, first-degree manslaughter occurs when a person:
Second-Degree Manslaughter in Washington
A person is guilty of second-degree manslaughter when, with criminal negligence, he causes the death of another person.
Vehicular homicide is defined as a death caused by any type of motor vehicle, including a car, SUV, taxi, motorcycle, truck, or bus. Under state law, any death that occurs within 3 (three) years after an auto accident can be considered vehicular homicide if the accident was caused by another driver’s negligence.
The driver can be found guilty of vehicular homicide if he or she was doing any of the following and someone died as a result:
The following table highlights the main provisions of Washington's manslaughter and vehicular homicide laws. See also Voluntary Manslaughter, Involuntary Manslaughter, First Degree Murder Defenses, and First Degree Murder Penalties and Sentencing .
First Degree Manslaughter: RCW 9A.32.060
Second Degree Manslaughter: RCW 9A.32.070
Vehicular Homicide: RCW 46.61.520
|What is Prohibited||
See Above Definitions
|Enhancements||There are enhancements that also apply if manslaughter offense is committed with a firearm or a deadly weapon|
First Degree Manslaughter: Class A Felony, Maximum of life without the possibility of parole and a fine.
Second Degree Manslaughter: Class B Felony
Vehicular Homicide: Class A Felony, but punishment depends upon how the crime happened and the driver's prior criminal history.
Possible Wrongful Death lawsuit
If you do find yourself facing a manslaughter or vehicular manslaughter charge in Washington, you may wish to contact a criminal defense attorney for assistance.
Contact a qualified attorney.