Written by attorney John Stephen Hager

Manslaughter & Child Abuse: Definition and Penalties

Recently, a man was locked away for 45 years in Florida as a result of a manslaughter and aggravated child abuse conviction. Court officials tend to take hard-hitting measures whenever a crime causes a loss of life, due to the devastation that results.

Only thirty-one years old, this offender will now spend the rest of his life behind bars. Originally the death sentence was even considered for defendant E.O. The sentence was lessened, however, when the defendant wasn’t convicted of first-degree murder, the initial charge placed on the table. Autopsy reports indicate that the three month old who passed away was the victim of blunt trauma before she stopped breathing.

E.O. had been in the back of the car with the crying baby while his former girlfriend was inside her house. When she came out minutes later, her daughter had stopped breathing. While family members hoped and prayed the defendant would receive the death penalty, his criminal defense attorney was able to secure the minimum penalty of 45 years for the defendant.

Manslaughter charges can be leveled upon an individual when his actions caused the death of another. These actions are usually not planned and don’t include malice aforethought, otherwise this would constitute murder charges. Manslaughter charges can include: voluntary, involuntary, or vehicular manslaughter.

Child abuse charges normally are in conjunction with violence, neglect or endangering health, or death. A child abuse conviction can typically cause harsher penalties than a manslaughter conviction. There are first, second and third degree manslaughter charges.

Typically a first degree charge means that the defendant meant to cause physical harm to the child, a second degree charge means that a reckless act caused harm to a child, and a third degree act normally indicates that a child was harmed, but not seriously. According to The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), passed by Congress in 1974, child abuse can be physical, sexual or mental (such as excessive humiliation) - typically containing the element of neglect.

If you have been charged with either manslaughter or child abuse charges, or perhaps with both, it is imperative that you get experienced criminal defense on your side immediately. Whenever the life of a child has been jeopardized or taken away, you can expect little mercy from a judge and jury. An attorney can help you with many things as you face criminal allegations.

He can explain your charges, be with you whenever you speak to the police, advise you on plea options and stand by your side during the court case, and can determine the best defense strategy for you. Overall, he can protect your freedom, finances and rights- and when your future and livelihood have been jeopardized, seasoned legal representation could prove invaluable!

Additional resources provided by the author

Hager & Schwartz, P.A., is a criminal defense firm based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The firm’s two attorneys have extensive experience, as they previously served as state prosecutors. This legal defense team promises each of its clients personalized attention and care and has a plethora of successful case results that potential clients can view on their website.

Free Q&A with lawyers in your area

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer