Manslaughter First Degree

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Manslaughter in the First Degree by Misdemeanor-Manslaughter is a mitigated murder charge where a death occurred during the execution of a misdemeanor. It requires no particular mental state on the part of the defendant except that which is required for conviction of the underlying misdemeanor. Any misdemeanor can be used as the underlying offense in a misdemeanor manslaughter charged.

All homicide charges, including Manslaughter in the First Degree, are serious offenses in Oklahoma. It is crucial you retain a Fierce Advocate, experienced criminal defense attorney, and criminal trial lawyer to fight for you, if you have charges of this magnitude pending in criminal court.

Manslaughter in the First Degree Overview

Manslaughter in the First Degree can also occur through a “heat of passion” moment. This is a defense to murder in the first degree. The passion or emotion which must exist in the defendant(s) refers to any strong emotion, such as fear, terror, anger, rage or resentment. This passion or emotion must have existed to such a degree as would naturally affect the ability to reason and render the mind incapable of cool reflection. However, the passion need not have been such as would entirely overcome reason, or be so overpowering as to destroy free exercise of choice.

This emotional state must, however, actually dominate the person at the time of the commission of the homicidal act and must be directed toward the deceased and not toward another. There must not be a reasonable opportunity for the passion to cool. This means that the homicide must have occurred while the defendant(s) was/were still affected by the passion or emotion. The homicide must have followed the provocation before there was time for the emotion to cool or subside.

Whether or not there was a reasonable opportunity for the passion to cool depends upon whether, under all the circumstances of the particular case, there was such a lapse of time between the provocation and the homicidal act that the mind of a reasonable person would have cooled sufficiently, so that the homicide was directed by reason, rather than by passion or emotion. The length of time that constitutes a reasonable opportunity for the passion to cool may vary according to the circumstances of the particular case.

"Adequate provocation" refers to any improper conduct of the deceased toward the defendant(s) which naturally or reasonably would have the effect of arousing a sudden heat of passion within a reasonable person in the position of the defendant(s). Generally, actions which are calculated to provoke an emotional response and ordinarily cause serious violence are recognized as adequate provocation. Actions that do not ordinarily provoke serious violence do not constitute adequate provocation.

In determining whether the deceased's conduct was adequate provocation, the conduct is judged as a person or reasonable intelligence and disposition would respond to it. Mere words alone, or threats, menaces, or gestures alone, however offensive or insulting, do not constitute adequate provocation. However, words, threats, menaces, or gestures, when considered in connection with provoking conduct of the deceased, may constitute adequate provocation. Personal violence or aggression by the deceased of a nature sufficiently violent to cause or threaten to cause pain, bloodshed, or bodily harm to the defendant(s) may be adequate provocation. If a dangerous weapon is involved, heat of passion is required for manslaughter in the first degree by dangerous weapon.

Hopefully, this explanation has assisted you in understanding the crime of Manslaughter in the First Degree and how a Fierce Advocate defends this type of charge.

Oklahoma Statutes

The statute for Manslaughter in the First Degree is OKLA. STAT. tit. 21 § 711, which states that Homicide is manslaughter in the first degree in the following cases: When perpetrated without a design to effect death by a person while engaged in the commission of a misdemeanor; when perpetrated without a design to effect death, and in a heat of passion, but in a cruel and unusual manner, or by means of a dangerous weapon; unless it is committed under such circumstances as constitute excusable or justifiable homicide, and when perpetrated unnecessarily either while resisting an attempt by the person killed to commit a crime, or after such attempt shall have failed.”

Elements of the Crime

In order to be convicted of Manslaughter in the First Degree in Oklahoma, the prosecution must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt. The criminal defense attorneys at Cannon & Associates are FIERCE ADVOCATES for every client and will hold the government to their burden in your case. In order to be convicted of this crime; the government must prove:

For Manslaughter in the First Degree by Misdemeanor-Manslaughter

1) The death of a human;

2) occurring as a direct result of an act or event which happened in the commission of a misdemeanor;

3) caused by the defendant or a person engaged with the defendant, while in the commission of the misdemeanor;

4) the elements of the specific underlying misdemeanor are alleged to have been in the commission of are met.

Oklahoma Jury Instruction #4-94.

For Manslaughter in the First Degree by Heat of Passion

1) The death of a human;

2) caused by the defendant(s);

3) the death was not excusable or justifiable;

4) the death was inflicted in a cruel and unusual manner;

5) when performing the conduct which caused death, the defendant(s) were in a heat of passion.

OR

4) the death was inflicted by means of a dangerous weapon;

5) when performing the conduct which caused the death, the defendant(s) were in a heat of passion.

The elements for “heat of passion” are:

  1. A) adequate provocation;
  2. B)  a passion or an emotion such as fear, terror, resentment, anger, or rage existed in the defendant;
  3. C) the homicide occurred while the passion still existe4d, and before there was reasonable opportunity for the passion to cool;
  4. D) there was a causal connection between the provocation, passion and the homicide.

Oklahoma Jury Instruction #4-95, 96.

What the Skilled Lawyers at Cannon & Associates Can Do For You

Being charged with Manslaughter in the First Degree in Oklahoma is a serious matter. The Oklahoma criminal defense attorneys at Cannon & Associates are Fierce Advocates for Families and Freedom and will fight for you! At Cannon & Associates, we have extensive criminal defense experience, and will be with you every step of the way. We will take care to explain the issues and options to get you to your desired result and support you in this difficult time.

Contact – Cannon & Associates: Oklahoma Criminal Defense

Cannon & Associates is dedicated to Fierce Advocacy for Oklahoma criminal defendants and will fight for you. Founder John Cannon has been recognized as a Super Lawyer and Top 40 under 40. Contact Cannon & Associates to protect your rights and fight your criminal case in Oklahoma. Complete the CONTACT FORM ON THIS PAGE NOW or CALL at 405-657-2323 for a free confidential case evaluation.


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