An involuntary manslaughter conviction brings harsh consequences. If you get convicted, you’ll face punishment such as imprisonment and hefty fines. To prevent a guilty verdict, it’s best to know all about this crime and how to defend against it.
This article will discuss how involuntary manslaughter is defined and how you can defend against charges. If you’re facing involuntary manslaughter charges, it’s best to contact our Upland criminal defense attorney to fight for you!
How does California Criminal Law define Involuntary Manslaughter?
Under Penal Code 192b, the prosecutor has to prove the following elements to convict you of manslaughter:
- You committed an act in California that’s not inherently dangerous;
- The act was done with criminal negligence;
- The actions caused the death of a person.
These constitute involuntary manslaughter. Let’s analyze each element deeper to see how these elements will be used in the courtroom:
1. Wrongful act
You can’t be charged with involuntary manslaughter if you’re not intentionally committing a wrongful act. The wrongful act can be a/an:
- Infraction (traffic violation),
- Misdemeanor (shoplifting a small amount),
- Felony that’s not inherently dangerous (like a robbery), or
- A lawful act is done unlawfully.
The act must not be dangerous by its nature. If you committed an unlawful act like a felony that can be harmful, such as arson, then it will not fall under involuntary manslaughter.
2. Criminal Negligence
The prosecution also has to show that your actions were criminally negligent to convict you of involuntary manslaughter.
Criminal negligence is not just carelessness, indifference, lack of intention. For you to act in a negligent manner:
- You have to act recklessly in a way that risks death or serious bodily injury;
- Any reasonable human being can see that knowingly acting that way creates that risk.
If the prosecution cannot show that you acted in a reckless manner that risks harm, then it cannot be involuntary manslaughter.
3. Cause Death
The prosecutors also have to show that any reasonable person can see that your actions caused the loss of human life.
What are the Penalties?
Involuntary manslaughter is punishable as a felony in California. If you’re convicted, you might be facing:
- Felony (formal) probation ;
- Two-four years incarceration; and
- Up to $10 000 in fines.
You might also be sued by the victim’s family, too. If they win their civil lawsuit against you, you’ll be facing very hefty judgments.
If you used a deadly weapon like a firearm and you’re found guilty, then the conviction counts as a strike under the “three strikes law.”
How Can I Defend Myself?
If you’re charged with involuntary manslaughter, a skilled criminal defense attorney can help prove your innocence. Here are some strong defense options that your attorney can use in court.
If you acted in self-defense or defending others, you cannot be found guilty.
Your attorney has to prove all of the following to show that you acted in self-defense
- You reasonably believed that there was a danger that you or someone would be killed, suffer great bodily harm, or be robbed, raped, or maimed;
- You had reason to believe that it was necessary to use deadly force
- There was reason to believe that deadly force was needed to prevent the danger; and
- You only used the necessary force.
A skilled lawyer can prove all of the above and prove you innocent of involuntary manslaughter.
It’s also possible to show that the death was by accident or unintentional.
For this defense, you’ll need to show that you:
- Were not acting with criminal negligence at the time of the killing;
- Had no intent to harm;
- Was performing a lawful act during the accident.
There is insufficient evidence to convict you
A skilled defense attorney can take an ordinarily open-and-shut case and turn it in your favor. One great way they can do this is by proving that there isn’t enough evidence to prove that you committed any crime.
Your defense lawyer will conduct their investigation. They will examine all evidence, from interviewing witnesses to involving forensics to find out what happened. They can show that there’s not enough proof to warrant a conviction.
You were falsely accused or wrongfully arrested
There could also be other people out to get you and falsely accuse you of involuntary manslaughter. It could be the actual offender who wants to deny blame and pin it on the defendant or someone who wants to cause you harm.
Regardless, an experienced defense attorney understands all the factors at play and can pull up the right tools to defend you from false accusations.
Criminal convictions can get you punished with the full force of the law. You’ll be looking at heavy fines and sentencing, not to mention the consequences it carries for life. A skilled defense lawyer can help prevent that and keep your criminal record clean.
If you need a criminal defense lawyer, call us at Law Offices of Marc Grossman! We have 100 years of combined experience defending different criminal charges such as:
- Involuntary manslaughter,
- Reckless Driving
- Driving under the influence
- Aggravated Assault
- Attempted Murder
Our Upland attorneys know the criminal justice system inside-out. If you feel that the entire system is out to get you, we’ll stand as your legal representation to fight for you.
If you’re facing criminal charges, call our Upland criminal defense lawyers now and get help with your case!