Cases in which an individual in Utah is accused of causing the death of another are undoubtedly serious. Individuals in Utah should understand that there are various charges they may face in such situations. Today let’s examine the crime of manslaughter in Utah.
First of all, according to Utah Code section 76-5-205, an individual will be charged with manslaughter if he or she recklessly causes the death of another. As recklessness does not necessarily involve intent, a person might face charges of manslaughter even if he or she did not intend to kill. In addition, there are other circumstances where a crime that might have been murder will be reduced to charges of manslaughter.
For example, a person who otherwise would have been charged with murder may have the charges reduced to manslaughter if, per Utah Code section 76-5-203(4), the individual caused another person to die but had the reasonable belief that he or she had a legal justification under the circumstances for doing so, even though the individual’s actions were not, in fact, legally justifiable.
In addition, a person who otherwise would have been charged with murder may have the charges reduced to manslaughter if, per Utah Code section 76-5-205.5, special mitigation exists. For example, special mitigation exists if an individual caused another person to die without legal justification, but is delusional due to a mental illness and, with regards to the delusion, it would have been reasonable per a reasonable person’s objective viewpoint.
A second incident in which special mitigation exists is if the individual caused another person to die, but was extremely emotionally distressed in circumstances where there was an excuse or explanation that was reasonable per the viewpoint of a reasonable person under the same circumstances.
There are other factors as well that per law must be satisfied for special mitigation to exist. But, as this shows, the manslaughter charges are more complex than one might think. Individuals accused of violent crimes may be in need of a strong defense. They should make sure they understand all the elements of the charges they face. Seeking legal representation may help, as this post cannot serve as legal advice or determine how the law will apply to an individual’s specific case.