Criminal Defense

What Is ‘Negligent Homicide’?

June 28, 2022 by Mikel Rastegar in Criminal Defense  
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Defining ‘Negligent Homicide’

When a person loses their life, it’s not unusual for a seemingly harmless character to be prosecuted with manslaughter, even if the death was an accident.

Furthermore, it’s too common for prosecutors to magnify minor mistakes and maybe ordinary negligence into excessive negligence, carelessness, or even intentional intent.

The three types of manslaughter in California include;

  1. voluntary,
  2. involuntary/negligent,
  3. and vehicular.

In California, there is a distinction between manslaughter and murder.

Negligent homicide is a felony in which one commits a criminally careless act that results in the death of another person. Criminal defense attorneys frequently employ various legal methods to assist defendants in challenging negligent homicide charges. Among the most popular are demonstrating that the “victim” died by accident, so there was insufficient information to support a guilty conviction.

Every state defines negligent homicide differently and the appropriate punishment. In California, negligent homicides are tried as ‘involuntary manslaughter’ under Penal Code 192.

The key feature of involuntary manslaughter is no “purpose” is needed to kill someone. It is not the same as murder charges under California Penal Code 187, which necessitates ill intent. The law also does not cover conduct involving the use of a vehicle.

Negligent Homicide Examples

  • A man steals a car and knocks down a pedestrian, killing them. It is obvious in this scenario that the man did not plan to kill anyone after stealing the vehicle. Such a case is put under negligent homicide (involuntary manslaughter).
  • In another case, a dog owner could be charged with negligent homicide (involuntary manslaughter) if their pet mauls a person in a dog park because it was not on its leash under new legislation being considered by the New York State Attorney General’s Office for animal welfare and welfare law enforcement officers.

Negligent Homicide vs. Vehicular Homicide

Someone can be indicted for vehicular manslaughter if they induce the death of another person while driving a vehicle by engaging in a negligent, criminal, or even lawful act that could result in death. Both vehicular and negligent homicide are accidental. The difference is that vehicular requires an automobile.

A vehicle driver can be brought up on charges of vehicular manslaughter in California if they cause an accident by breaking a traffic law, being negligent, or extremely careless, and someone dies as a result, regardless of whether the driver is under the influence of alcohol or not. Ample proof that the law enforcers have overlooked could be used to acquit you from these charges.

Intoxicated driving can be either a felony or a misdemeanor. It is charged by up to twelve months in county jail as a misdemeanor. A felony can result in a sentence of sixteen months, two years, or three years in state prison. Anyone found guilty of vehicular manslaughter with gross carelessness or for monetary gain will have their license revoked.

Negligent Homicide vs. Voluntary Manslaughter

Voluntary manslaughter is defined as a homicide that fulfills the “purpose” or “knowing” degrees of intent but falls short of murder, unlike negligent homicide, which usually has no intention or knowledge to kill. It happens when the criminal is overcome by emotion in the heat of the moment as a result of unexpected events and loses his conscience.

Most jurisdictions demand that the trigger be one that would normally elicit blinding rage or anger in the wrongdoer. For example, if the culprit discovers their wife in bed with their closest friend and shoots one of them in wrath, a jury may rule that manslaughter is more acceptable.

Defenses For Negligent Homicide

The vast majority of negligent homicide cases are unintentional. Assume you or someone you know is accused of negligent homicide. You should consult with a criminal defense counsel to represent you against the claims. While most cases of involuntary manslaughter are occurrences in which a person did not mean to kill the victim, Los Angeles criminal legal specialists may be able to reveal the true reason for the victim’s death.

Legal defenses used include:

  • Accident While most cases of involuntary manslaughter involve someone who did not intend to kill the victim, lawyers may be able to demonstrate that the victim died due to a true accident. In other words, your actions were legal and free of criminal negligence.
  • Self-defense if someone else put your or another person’s life in immediate danger of death or serious physical harm, and you only acted in self-defense, it is not considered a negligent homicide.
  • False accusations a situation where another individual tries to deny or reduce their engagement in the victim’s death or when someone is seeking vengeance against the accussed is a false accusation according to California law.

Penalties For Negligent Homicide

Involuntary manslaughter has always been a felony in California. Suppose you are guilty of violating Section 192 of the California Penal Code. In that case, legal penalties include two, three, or four years in a California state prison, criminal probation, and up to $10,000 in fines.

Being Charged, Need a Consultation?

Contact Esfandi Law Group to discuss how you can fight back after being charged with negligent homicide. Time is of the essence.

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Seppi Esfandi is an Expert Attorney who has over 21 years of practice defending a variety of cases.

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