When you think of manslaughter, you likely think of a mangled wreck on the highway or an argument taken too far. What you are forgetting is that manslaughter has a broad definition: the killing of a human being that is not considered murder.
Below, we explore aggravated manslaughter, an instance of manslaughter enhanced by the death of a child, elderly or disabled adult, officer, firefighter, or emergency personnel. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on aggravated manslaughter cases that involve the death of a child or elderly or disabled adult. If you have been charged with aggravated manslaughter, consult a manslaughter defense attorney in Tampa from The Rickman Law Firm.
Florida is known for its large and growing senior population. While many of these adults are independent, there are those that require constant care and supervision. These adults are often under the care of trained professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and nursing home staff. Despite the best efforts of these professionals, tragedy can still strike.
That is exactly what happened when Hurricane Irma caused the air conditioning system to fail at one Florida nursing home, resulting in the deaths of a dozen residents. Nursing home employees were subsequently charged with manslaughter. Under Florida law, it is aggravated manslaughter and a first-degree felony to cause “the death of any elderly person or disabled adult by culpable negligence.” If convicted, these employees could be fined $10,000 and sentenced up to thirty years in prison.
In the State of Florida, aggravated manslaughter of a child occurs when a person “causes the death of any person under the age of 18 by culpable negligence.” While the death of a minor can result from any number of causes, we’d like to focus on a cause that is often in the public eye.
According to the National Safety Council, 53 children died in hot cars in 2018, the deadliest year in 20 years. The leading cause? “A caregiver forgetting a child in a vehicle.” Due to brutal summers and year-round sunshine, a car can heat up to dangerous temperatures in Florida in as little as one hour. The Sunshine State is tied with Texas for having the most pediatric vehicular heatstroke deaths.
Whether a parent or other caregiver, if a child dies as a result of being left in a hot car on your watch, you can be charged with aggravated manslaughter, fined $10,000, and sentenced up to life in prison.
If you have been charged with aggravated manslaughter, you are likely reeling from the death that you have been accused of causing. What you need to know is this: your situation is not hopeless. You need not spend years in prison for a death that you did not cause. Contact The Rickman Law Firm to partner with a manslaughter defense lawyer in Tampa who will hear your story and fight for your freedom.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.