Involuntary manslaughter is the act of unintentionally killing another person during the commission of:
- Some Dangerous Lawful Acts
- Certain Criminal Acts
Individuals who are accused of unintentionally causing the death of another person may be charged under CA Penal Code Section 192(b): Involuntary Manslaughter. You can find out more about this charge, the penalties for a conviction, and legal defenses right here with the Simmrin Law Group.
Legally Defining Involuntary Manslaughter in California
California uses a very strict definition for involuntary manslaughter. Individuals should only be charged under PC 192(b) if they caused another person’s death by committing an:
- Felony That is Not Inherently Dangerous
- Unlawfully Dangerous Lawful Act
Individuals must act with criminal negligence to be convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Criminal negligence is demonstrated by individuals who act reckless or in a way that reasonable people would see as highly dangerous.
This means that purely accidental deaths should not be prosecuted under PC 192(b) in California. Individuals must behave dangerously and engage in risky or criminal behavior to face involuntary manslaughter charges.
Legal Duty and Involuntary Manslaughter
The court system can also use involuntary manslaughter charges if someone fails to carry out one of their legal duties and this results in an individual’s death. Individuals may face these charges if they:
- Have a Legal Duty
- Fail to Carry It Out in a Criminally Negligent Way AND
- This Failure Leads to a Death
Legal duty can be a complicated concept to understand in California. Parents generally have legal duties to their children, for example. However, something as simple as “assuming responsibility” for someone else – perhaps by offering to take a drunk friend home from the bar at closing time – can lead to a perceived legal duty.
Comparing Involuntary and Voluntary Manslaughter
There are multiple types of manslaughter in Los Angeles and throughout California. As we mentioned, involuntary manslaughter may occur without individual planning to kill someone else. This sets it apart from voluntary manslaughter.
Individuals can face charges under California Penal Code Section 192(a): Voluntary Manslaughter for intentionally killing another person in the heat of the moment of due to the heat of passion. Voluntary manslaughter is generally punished more harshly than involuntary manslaughter.
Focus on Examples of Involuntary Manslaughter
Get a firm grasp of involuntary manslaughter charges in California by going over the following examples:
Man A snatches a woman’s purse and runs away. As he runs across a road, he bumps into an elderly man, knocking him into the path of a vehicle. The elderly man dies after being struck by the car. Man A could be charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Man B surprises one of his friends on their birthday. The friend is so startled by the surprise party that she has a heart attack and dies. Her death was accidental and not a result of reckless or dangerous activity. Man B should not face involuntary manslaughter charges.
Results of an Involuntary Manslaughter Conviction
The courts in California treat involuntary manslaughter as a felony. This means that the penalties for a conviction can be very harsh, including:
- Up to $10,000 in Fines
- Up to Four Years in Jail
Note that these are only the penalties used in criminal trials. Sometimes, involuntary manslaughter may lead to a civil trial that can require individuals to pay tremendous amounts of restitution to the family of the victim.
Building a Legal Defense to Involuntary Manslaughter
Individuals do not have to simply accept an involuntary manslaughter charge in California. You can focus on building a defense against this accusation by reaching out to a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. A professional lawyer can go over the facts surrounding your case and they may be able to show that:
The Death was a Result of Self-Defense
Sometimes, individuals must take drastic actions to protect their own lives or the lives of others. You may be able to plead self-defense if you killed someone else to protect yourself or someone else from great bodily injury or death.
The Death was Accidental
At first glance, it may seem that all acts of involuntary manslaughter are accidental. After all, they are not premeditated acts of murder. However, your lawyer will need to show that the death involved no reckless or criminal behavior for it to be considered legally an accident.
Defend Yourself Against Involuntary Manslaughter Charges
CA Penal Code Section 192(b): Involuntary Manslaughter charges can lead to high fines and years of incarceration. Get help facing this charge now by reaching out to the criminal defense lawyers at the Simmrin Law Group. Our team can start helping you today. Call (310) 896-2723, or complete our online contact form to get started.
You can get the legal advice you need now with a FREE consultation.