What is aggravated manslaughter in Florida?

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The crime of Aggravated Manslaughter is a First Degree Felony that is punishable up to 30 years in prison and $10,000 fine.

This offense occurs when:

  1. Victim is dead.
  2. The death of victim was caused by the culpable negligence of defendant.
  3. Victim was at the time an elderly person, a disabled adult, or a child and the victim’s death was caused by the neglect of defendant, a caregiver for victim. OR
  4. Victim was an officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, or paramedic who was at the time performing duties that were within the course of his/her employment.

Every person has a duty to act reasonably towards others. If there is a violation of that duty, without any conscious intention to harm, that violation is negligence.  But culpable negligence is more than a failure to use ordinary care toward others.  In order for negligence to be culpable, it must be gross and flagrant. 

Culpable negligence

Culpable negligence is a course of conduct showing reckless disregard of human life, or of the safety of persons exposed to its dangerous effects, or such an entire want of care as to raise a presumption of a conscious indifference to consequences, or which shows wantonness or recklessness, or a grossly careless disregard for the safety and welfare of the public, or such an indifference to the rights of others as is equivalent to an intentional violation of such rights.

The negligent act or omission must have been committed with an utter disregard for the safety of others. Culpable negligence is consciously doing an act or following a course of conduct that the defendant must have known, or reasonably should have known, was likely to cause death or great bodily injury.


“Elderly person” means a person 60 years of age or older who is suffering from the infirmities of aging as manifested by advanced age, organic brain damage, or physical, mental, or emotional dysfunctioning, to the extent that the ability of the person to provide adequately for the person’s own care or protection is impaired.

“Disabled adult” means a person 18 years of age or older who suffers from a condition of physical or mental incapacitation due to developmental disability, organic brain damage, or mental illness, or who has one or more physical or mental limitations that restrict the person’s ability to perform the normal activities of daily living.

“Child” means any person under the age of 18 years.

“Caregiver” means a person who has been entrusted with or has assumed responsibility for the care or the property of an elderly person or a disabled adult.  “Caregiver” includes, but is not limited to, relatives, court-appointed or voluntary guardians, adult household members, neighbors, health care providers, and employees and volunteers of facilities.

“Caregiver” means a parent, adult household member, or other person responsible for a child’s welfare.

“Neglect of [a child”] [an elderly person”] [a disabled adult”] means:

1.           A caregiver’s failure or omission to provide [a child] [an elderly person] [a disabled adult] with the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain [a child’s] [an elderly person’s] [a disabled adult’s] physical and mental health, including, but not limited to, food, nutrition, clothing, shelter, supervision, medicine, and medical services that a prudent person would consider essential for the well-being of the [child] [elderly person] [disabled adult]; OR

2.           A caregiver’s failure to make reasonable effort to protect [a child] [an elderly person] [a disabled adult] from abuse, neglect or exploitation by another person.

Neglect may be based on repeated conduct or on a single incident or omission by a caregiver that results in, or could reasonably be expected to result in, serious physical or [psychological] [mental] injury, or a substantial risk of death to [a child] [an elderly person] [a disabled adult].

Defenses to Aggravated Manslaughter.

  • Person was merely negligent.
  • Victim was not an elderly person, a disabled adult, or a child.
  • The course of conduct did not show reckless disregard of human life.

Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Glenn M. Swiatek for a Free Initial Consultation

If you have been arrested or believe you will soon be arrested for the offense of aggravated manslaughter in Destin, Shalimar, Crestview, Ft. Walton Beach or other areas of Northwest Florida please call us today at (850) 609‑0940 or contact us online.

Initial Office Consults are free, and I will make myself available to suit your schedule. Get the peace of mind that an attorney with over twenty-three years of criminal law experience can bring.