Aggravated manslaughter in New Jersey can be charged in two forms–the first form of aggravated manslaughter happens when the actor (or defendant) recklessly causes death under circumstances which show an extreme indifference to the value of human life. The second form of manslaughter occurs when death of the victim occurs during the defendant fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer. All aggravated manslaughter charges are charged as crimes of the first degree. Defendants facing aggravated manslaughter charges in NJ are looking at a minimum 10 year NJ State Prison sentence if convicted.
Non-aggravated manslaughter can be charged based on two situations: The first situation is recklessly causing the death of another human being, but unlike aggravated manslaughter, the finding of “extreme indifference” is not present. The second standard for non-aggravated manslaughter is causing another person’s death in the heat of extreme passion resulting from a reasonable provocation by the victim. This would include deaths resulting from fighting or death which occurs during a crime of passion. Manslaughter is a second degree crime. The different punishments for voluntary manslaughter depend on the defendant’s mental state and other information regarding the specifics of the crime. At the very least, defendants are looking at between 5 and 10 years NJ State Prison time if found guilty.
NERA offenses in New Jersey
In addition to the punishment of either crime, both categories of charges fall under New Jersey’s No Early Release Act (NERA). NERA requires that every individual that is sentenced for a violent crime must serve at least 85% of their prison sentence. Therefore, a person who is convicted of any type of manslaughter cannot be released on parole until the NERA portion of their sentence has been served.