Many different aspects of the law deal with the death of another person, whether that is in civil or criminal law. One of the ways the penal code addresses the death of an individual is through involuntary manslaughter. The legal definition and elements will follow below, but generally speaking, it deals with the unintentional killing of another person. Like with any other serious crime, this article only provides an overview and all advice should come from an experienced criminal attorney.
Elements of the Crime
The intent is a really important element for murder cases. But it’s also important for involuntary manslaughter since the defendant is supposed to have no intent. There are some different ways that involuntary manslaughter can be argued by the prosecution. Possible causes include proving the defendant acted with criminal negligence, did something legal but in an unlawful way, or committed another crime that unintentionally resulted in the death of the victim.
For example, a person can be charged with this crime if they were committing a misdemeanor or non-dangerous felony crime, which then accidentally resulted in the victim’s death. While crime was being committed, the sole purpose would not have been to kill the victim. On the other hand, proving criminal negligence requires providing evidence that the defendant acted in a reckless manner that resulted in great bodily injury or could conceivably have resulted in death.
Punishment for the Crime
While there wasn’t a specific intention to cause the death of another person, some sort of negligent or criminal activity did occur. As such, violating the penal code results in a felony conviction. If found guilty, the defendant faces up to four years in jail. The defendant may also have to pay a fine as part of the criminal proceedings, but may also pay damages due to a civil case.