Alec Baldwin Penalties: How Much Prison Time Could He Get?

alec baldwin prison time

Getty Alec Baldwin.

Alec Baldwin is facing serious penalties that include mandatory prison time if he’s convicted in the involuntary manslaughter charges filed against him in New Mexico on January 19, 2023, in the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, according to the district attorney’s press release.

In a press release posted to her Facebook page, New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies announced on January 19, 2023, that, “in keeping with her commitment to pursue justice for all victims and to hold everyone accountable under the law, her office before the end of the month will file criminal charges in the ‘Rust’ film-set shooting.”

“Rust” actor and producer Alec Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed “will each be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Halyna Hutchins on the film’s Santa Fe County set in 2021,” the release says.

Baldwin previously denied to ABC News that he pulled the trigger on the movie set.

Baldwin’s lawyer, Luke Nikas, wrote in a statement to ABC News, “This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice. Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun — or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win.”

According to Ballotpedia, Carmack-Altwies is a Democrat who took office on January 1, 2021. She has worked as both a deputy district attorney and a public defender in the past, according to her biography.

Here’s what you need to know:

Baldwin Faces Up to a Mandatory Five Years in Jail Due to a Firearm Enhancement, If Convicted

According to Carmack-Altwies’s press release, Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will be “charged in the alternative” with “the two counts of manslaughter, meaning that a jury would decide not simply if they were guilty, but under which definition of involuntary manslaughter they were guilty.”

The first charge “can be referred to simply as involuntary manslaughter. For this charge to be proved there must be underlying negligence. Under New Mexico law, involuntary manslaughter is a fourth-degree felony and is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. This charge also includes the misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a firearm, which would likely merge as a matter of law,” she wrote.

“The other charge is involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act. This charge requires proof that there was more than simple negligence involved in a death. This is also a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in jail and up to a $5000 fine,” according to the press release.

“This charge includes a firearm enhancement, or added mandatory penalty, because a firearm was involved. The firearm enhancement makes the crime punishable by a mandatory five years in jail,” the release says.

According to New Mexico state statutes, the crime of manslaughter is “the unlawful killing of a human being without malice.”

Involuntary manslaughter “consists of manslaughter committed in the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to felony, or in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death in an unlawful manner or without due caution and circumspection.”

The Special Prosecutor Accused Baldwin & Others of Not Doing Their Jobs to Make Sure the Film Set Was Safe

alec baldwin kills woman

GettyAlec Baldwin

Assistant director David Halls “has signed a plea agreement for the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon. The terms include a suspended sentence and six months of probation. A copy of the plea agreement will be available after it has been filed with the court,” according to the release.

“No charges will be filed specific to the non-fatal shooting of ‘Rust’ director Joel Souza,” Carmack-Altwies wrote.

“After a thorough review of the evidence and the laws of the state of New Mexico, I have determined that there is sufficient evidence to file criminal charges against Alec Baldwin and other members of the ‘Rust’ film crew,” Carmack-Altwies said in the news release. “On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”

“If any one of these three people—Alec Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed or David Halls—had done their job, Halyna Hutchins would be alive today. It’s that simple,” said Andrea Reeb, the special prosecutor appointed by the DA to the case, in the news release. “The evidence clearly shows a pattern of criminal disregard for safety on the ‘Rust’ film set. In New Mexico, there is no room for film sets that don’t take our state’s commitment to gun safety and public safety seriously.”

The Charges Will Be Formally Filed Before the End of January 2023

halyna hutchins

FacebookHalyna Hutchins.

According to the release, Carmack-Altwies and Reeb “will formally file charges with New Mexico’s First Judicial District Court before the end of the month. Following the filing of charges, each defendant will be issued a summons with the charging information. Shortly after receiving the summons each defendant is required to make a ‘first appearance,’ a procedure that is often referred to in other jurisdictions as an arraignment.”

The release says that the “first appearance can be done virtually, and defendants can even move to have their first appearance waived. First appearance dates are set by the court, not by the District Attorney.”

The release added:

Given that the First Judicial District in New Mexico is only impaneling grand juries under certain circumstances due to ongoing COVID restrictions, the next step after first appearance will be a preliminary hearing. In this process, a judge takes on the role of the grand jury. The District Attorney and the special prosecutor present their case to the judge. The judge then rules whether there is probable cause to move forward with a trial. The dates for a preliminary hearing will be set by the court, not by the District Attorney. However, preliminary hearings are typically scheduled within 60 days of charges being filed.

“There is a very clear process for pursuing justice in this case,” Carmack-Altwies said in the release. “We are committed to upholding the integrity of that process to ensure equal justice under the law.”

The release continues:

Once charges are filed, more detailed paperwork will be available online through the court that details the evidence the DA and the special prosecutor cite. An announcement will be made to the public when the charges have formally been filed.

The District Attorney received the final Santa Fe County Sheriff’s report on October 27, 2022, and moved quickly to carefully and thoughtfully review the evidence, allowing the DA to make her decision on charges less than three months after receiving the initiating report.

READ NEXT: The Life of Halyna Hutchins.

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