Two of the most serious crimes that you can be charged with in the state of Colorado are manslaughter are murder. Both of these crimes involve the loss of a life, which means the consequences that you will face if convicted are grave. Although similar in nature, these two crimes have a number of significant differences. Here are some of the differences between manslaughter and murder in Colorado:

The Intent

The main difference between manslaughter and murder is the defendant’s intent. A person who commits murder is being accused of intentionally killing another person. If the charge is first degree murder, this means the defendant is being accused of premeditated murder. A second degree murder charge means the defendant knowingly and intentionally killed the victim, but it was not planned in advance.

A person who commits manslaughter does not intend on killing anyone, but rather the victim is killed as a result of the defendant’s reckless behavior. Therefore, the state does not need to prove that you intended on killing the victim in order to convict you of manslaughter. Instead, the state simply has to prove that you knowingly engaged in conduct that put others in harm’s way.

The Consequences

The consequences for manslaughter and murder are also very different. Although both of these crimes are serious, murder is considered worse in the eyes of the law because it involves an intentional killing. If you are convicted of first degree murder, you could face either life in prison or the death penalty. Defendants who are convicted of second degree murder can face up to 48 years in prison and up to a $1 million in fines.

If you are convicted of manslaughter, you could face up to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.

Because the penalties for manslaughter are not nearly as extreme as the penalties for murder, many criminal defense attorneys will attempt to have their clients’ murder charges reduced to manslaughter. In some cases, the prosecution will agree to reduce the charges to manslaughter as part of a plea deal. Even though the defendant will still spend time behind bars, it will be a much lighter penalty than what he could face if he was convicted of murder instead.

No one should face manslaughter or murder charges alone. If you have been accused of either one of these crimes, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm as soon as possible. Let us fight for your freedom. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.