The distinction between first and second-degree manslaughter is primarily due to the directness of the act. Because these levels of manslaughter carry various degrees of possible punishment, it matters a great deal what a Connecticut resident is charged with. Depending on the charge, you stand to lose a great deal more of your freedom and finances if you are convicted.
As FindLaw explains, Connecticut will charge a person with first-degree manslaughter if the state believes the person intended to inflict serious physical harm on the individual who died as a result of the person’s actions. The accused person may have also committed harmful acts under extreme emotion. Additionally, if someone’s conduct was so reckless that the individual was severely indifferent to human life and caused another person to die, the state may levy a first-degree manslaughter charge.
By contrast, a person accused of second-degree manslaughter may act more indirectly to cause another human being to die. Connecticut law stipulates that someone may be charged with second-degree manslaughter if an individual recklessly causes the death of another person. Also, if someone commits suicide and another party deliberately aids in the attempt, the other party can be charged with second-degree manslaughter.
However, not everyone who helps someone commit suicide is only charged with second-degree manslaughter. Connecticut law will provide for the more serious charge of murder if someone utilizes force to coerce someone into going through with suicide. A person may also face a murder charge if that person deceives someone into killing himself or herself.
As stated previously, these two forms of manslaughter carry differing levels of punishment. A first-degree manslaughter is a Class B felony that may result in a prison sentence of up to twenty years and a fine up to $15,000. Second-degree manslaughter is considered a Class C felony. Charges of second-degree manslaughter have a lower maximum of up to ten years confinement in prison and possible fines levied to $10,000.
This article is only written to educate readers on violent crimes committed in the state of Connecticut. It does not convey legal advice.