Not all death caused by another person is classified as murder in California. Penal Code Section 192 (b) PC defines involuntary manslaughter, which occurs when one person takes the life of another without intent. The death is typically accidental in a situation like this, but that doesn’t make it any easier for any of the parties involved. Accidental death typically occurs when there is no premeditation, which is the pre-planned and thought-out intent to take the life of another person. Accidental death can occur with or without criminal intent, but it does not mean you should forgo calling an attorney if you are arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter charges.
Proving Involuntary Manslaughter
If you kill someone by accident, you could be arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter. This means you’re sent to jail, booked, and your attorney can post bail to have you sent home with strict rules. The prosecution can charge you with this crime, but they must be able to prove you committed the crime.
– You committed the crime whether it was lawful or unlawful
– You committed the crime with criminal negligence in mind
– What you did directly caused the death of another person
If you are guilty of criminal negligence, the prosecution must be able to prove you behaved in a reckless manner while knowing what you were doing was reckless and capable of killing another person. For example, perhaps you accepted a dare from a friend one night to break into the neighbor’s pool enclosure and take a swim with your girlfriend. You end up getting caught and run, but you trip, knock her down, and her head injuries cause her to die. You didn’t mean to kill her even though you were in the middle of a criminal act. You knew what you were doing was reckless, but you chose to do it regardless.
If you and your girlfriend take a walk in the park one night and you are held up at gunpoint by a criminal and you make the decision to try and fight the gun away from him, then she is shot in the process and killed. You were trying to save her life, but she died regardless. This is not criminal negligence as you were not engaged in any criminal activity at the time she was killed.
Penalties for Involuntary Manslaughter
It’s a crime that’s considered a felony in California. If you are arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter, you face a prison sentence of two, three, or four years and you could pay fines of up to $10,000. Unfortunately, involuntary manslaughter is a homicide crime in California. You took the life of another person, and it’s a danger.
Defense Against Involuntary Manslaughter
– You were defending yourself or someone else and someone died in self-defense
– The death of someone else was an accident that did not contain any criminal activity or negligence
– There is not enough evidence to convict you of involuntary manslaughter
– Someone accused you of a crime you didn’t commit
These are among the most common defenses for an involuntary manslaughter charge. You did not mean to kill anyone, you didn’t mean to hurt anyone, and you didn’t know your actions would cause harm. This is a situation that’s difficult to face because you might feel responsible for the death of someone else even if it was an accident. You might feel you owe it to that person and their family to spend time in jail as punishment, but you don’t if you didn’t mean to cause this harm and you didn’t do it on purpose or in a criminal manner.
Your criminal record follows you for life. You could lose your job, your family, your income, and your ability to ever get a new job if you are convicted of a criminal offense of this nature. You must call an attorney to find out if there is anything you can do to defend yourself against these charges. You’re offered the chance to call an attorney when you are arrested, and that is the best time to do just that.