New Hampshire state laws generally divide criminal homicide into five categories. These include capital murder, first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter, and negligent homicide. Manslaughter and negligent homicide are very closely related, however, there are some differences.
While these two particular criminal homicide offenses can seem almost like the same crime, certain circumstances separate the two. To find out more about New Hampshire manslaughter laws and negligent homicide, read further.
In general, manslaughter consists of an individual causing the death of another while in a very extreme mental or emotional state, or due to acting in a reckless manner. While an intentional killing usually gets the offender a charge of capital, first, or second-degree murder, manslaughter is a lesser charge that might also result. In order for a homicide to classify as manslaughter, the suspect must have committed the act while in a mentally or emotionally disturbed state due to some kind of extraordinary provocation. For example, a crime of passion, where a husband discovers his wife and her lover and then proceeds to kill the lover, might be manslaughter in the eyes of the court due to the circumstances. If the court convicts an offender of manslaughter, that individual might face up to 30 years in prison.
The state can charge a person with negligent homicide if that individual caused the death of another through a negligent act. Whether the court charges a person with manslaughter and negligent homicide depends on if the act the offender committed was reckless or negligent. If the act was reckless, the offender should have reasonably known that such an act was likely to cause harm. In a situation where the act was negligent, the offender failed in his or her duty to another person and that failure resulted in harm.
Typically, negligent homicide is a class B felony. However, the state can upgrade it to a class A felony if the death was due to the offender controlling a propelled vehicle while intoxicated. Again, the charge is going to depend on the specific circumstanced involved.
While manslaughter and negligent homicide are very closely related in New Hampshire, there are differences that separate the two. This means that there could be a significant difference in penalties as well. If you or a loved one is facing one of these charges, it is important to remember that you still have rights and options when it comes to building a defense.