What Is Involuntary Manslaughter ?
The term 'involuntary manslaughter' is a bit ambiguous. It includes two scenarios:
a person killed as a consequence of criminal negligence, or when a person is killed during a crime in which there was no intent to cause death or bodily injury. The quantum of sentence, when found guilty, is considerable, but less than manslaughter. However, this varies from state to state.
The first scenario, pertaining to criminal negligence, occurs when negligence of a person leads to the death of another. Driving under influence (DUI) falls under this category and hence the offense is categorized as involuntary manslaughter. Another example is a person killed in an accident because of a speeding motorist. If the speeding motorist breaks speed limit and causes death, the motorist can be charged with involuntary manslaughter.
The second scenario arises when a person carrying out a crime inadvertently kills another person. This may happen even if there is no actual violence carried out against the person who dies. This type of manslaughter is also called as misdemeanor manslaughter. For instance, a thief steals money from a person and while giving chase to the thief, the person happens to fall down the stairs and dies, the thief can be charged with involuntary manslaughter. The rationale behind this is that had the thief not stolen the money, the victim would have been alive. So, although it was not the thief's intention to cause any injury or harm to the victim, the thief still is responsible for causing the death of the person.
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