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Defending against involuntary manslaughter charges

On Behalf of | Feb 4, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Those who caused or contributed to the accidental death of another person should consider themselves in trouble. In California, involuntary manslaughter is often charged as a felony, meaning a strong defense may be the best way to improve your situation. 

With an early focus on minimizing the risk of a conviction, it is sometimes possible to avoid the harshest outcome. It also helps to know as much as possible about the charges you face.

What does manslaughter mean?

California penal code defines manslaughter as an unlawful killing but without the element of malice.

When manslaughter is voluntary, it usually means the death occurred through provocation in the heat of the moment. Involuntary manslaughter means the other person was killed by accident, perhaps out of negligent or reckless conduct.

What are some involuntary manslaughter defenses?

A self-defense argument can work so long as you demonstrate you were in imminent danger of bodily injury or feared such harm. In California, you must show you reacted to the threat reasonably and used only as much force as necessary.

Some deaths that lead to involuntary manslaughter charges are entirely accidental and do not contain the element of negligence. Showing that your conduct did not cause or contribute to the death can form the basis of a sound defense. Often, the best strategy involves taking advantage of weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. For example, it can substantially improve your circumstances if prosecutors lack hard evidence or if the evidence becomes compromised.

These are only a few things to consider when determining how to create your criminal defense. In most circumstances, legal guidance can open even more pathways to obtaining a favorable outcome.