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What is involuntary manslaughter?

On Behalf of | Feb 13, 2023 | Violent crimes

Involuntary manslaughter is a type of homicide that occurs when someone kills another person without intending to do so. It is usually the result of recklessness or negligence rather than deliberate planning or malice aforethought. 

If you have been charged with manslaughter in Maryland, it is crucial to understand the nature of the charges against you and the potential consequences of a conviction.

Involuntary versus voluntary manslaughter

In Maryland, manslaughter is governed by statutory law and case law precedent. The state defines voluntary manslaughter as an intentional killing with “malice aforethought,” which includes activities performed in the heat of passion or involving reasonable provocation.

Involuntary manslaughter is an unintentional killing with no intent to cause injury or death, but where criminal negligence was present. Examples include killing someone while driving recklessly or carelessly handling a deadly weapon. 

This type of homicide is usually considered to be lesser than murder due to its lack of premeditation. However, it is still considered a felony and can carry hefty penalties if convicted. The severity of the offense is reflected in the potential punishment. Manslaughter charges, including involuntary, have a term of up to 10 years in prison and a $500 fine. If convicted of vehicular manslaughter, an individual can serve 10 years and pay a fine of $5,000.

Involuntary manslaughter is a serious crime with life-changing consequences. It carries less severe penalties than those associated with murder, but it is still punishable under criminal and civil law. If you are facing manslaughter charges, you need to know your legal rights. This will be a challenging time, and you will want to develop a strong defense.