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A charge of involuntary manslaughter would be brought in accordance with California Penal Code section 192(b). To prove involuntary manslaughter, the prosecution must show beyond a reasonable doubt that a person unlawfully killed somebody while committing:
Involuntary manslaughter in California doesn’t depend on the issue of intent to kill somebody. Malice isn’t an element of the crime. It doesn’t involve deaths that result from the operation of motor vehicles either. Those crimes would ordinarily be charged pursuant to California’s vehicular manslaughter statute.
Involuntary manslaughter is a felony
The crime of involuntary manslaughter is a homicide as opposed to a murder, but it’s still a felony. It’s punishable by two to four years of incarceration, but not in a state prison. Pursuant to recently passed legislation, a person convicted of involuntary manslaughter will serve his or her sentence in a county jail. That jail sentence could be coupled with mandatory supervised release monitored by the a probation officer. In addition, a fine not to exceed $10,000 can be imposed. Of course, a civil judgement for wrongful death or negligence might be brought against you too. Any money judgement that might be entered is likely to be significant.
Defenses to involuntary manslaughter charges
Although malice and intention don’t have to be proved in an involuntary manslaughter case, it is necessary to prove negligent or reckless conduct. Common legal defenses to a charge of involuntary manslaughter follow.
Self defense or defense of others
If a person has a reasonable and good faith belief that he or she needed to protect himself or herself, or protect somebody else from imminent serious bodily harm or death, he or she can affirmatively raise self defense or defense of others. The defender cannot have used more force than necessary though.
Accidents can happen without negligence or recklessness. You might be stopped at a stop sign at the top of an icy hill in your car, and you slowly start sliding 100 yards down the hill while completely out of control and hit a man who was shoveling snow. You weren’t negligent or reckless, but the accident happened, he died, and it was completely unavoidable.
You were wrongfully accused to begin with
Somebody that had knowledge of the crime might have accused you of it in efforts to cover up his or her tracks. Although it’s easy to point fingers, the prosecution still has the burden to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Under these circumstances it’s highly unlikely that the prosecutors have any evidence at all other than somebody pointing their finger at you. That’s insufficient evidence to bring a case against anybody with.
If you’ve been charged with involuntary manslaughter anywhere around Los Angeles, your choice of lawyers to represent you can make or break your defense. Although the prosecution might reveal evidence to its advantage, it might not disclose other information that it has to support your defense. If you get charged with involuntary manslaughter, not only is your good name in jeopardy, but your freedom is too. You’ll need to contact us as soon as possible after an event or arrest for a free consultation and case evaluation. Once you retain us, we’ll be putting your defense strategy together right away. Invoke your right to an attorney. Don’t admit to anything. Call us first.