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What is involuntary manslaughter in Maryland?

On Behalf of | Jun 14, 2024 | Criminal Defense

You don’t have to intentionally cause someone’s death to be charged with manslaughter – because “involuntary” manslaughter, or “criminally negligent homicide,” is also a crime.

In fact, what you don’t do can get you into legal trouble as much as any intentional act when it comes to manslaughter charges.

What kinds of actions or inactions can lead to involuntary manslaughter charges?

It’s important to note that while distinctions can be drawn between intentional killings (or voluntary manslaughter) and unintentional killings, both can be punished the same. Involuntary manslaughter is a felony punished by up to 10 years in prison (with some variation in sentencing for charges involving a motor vehicle).

Some examples of how you could be charged with involuntary manslaughter include:

  • A fatal car accident: While not all fatal car accidents end with involuntary manslaughter charges, you might be charged with a crime if you were particularly negligent or reckless. For example, if you were speeding through a construction zone and fatally hit a worker, that might result in this charge.
  • A bar fight: Imagine that you’re having a good time in a bar when someone makes a deeply personal and negative remark about your brother. You end up throwing a few punches, and the other person dies from a brain bleed the next day. You never meant to kill him, but charges would be likely.
  • Negligent caretaking: You’re responsible for your disabled parent, and they require constant supervision. In a fit of frustration and exhaustion, you leave them alone for a few hours and they wander off and die of exposure. Your tragedy could be compounded by these charges.

Involuntary manslaughter charges can have a massive impact on your future, even if you are not convicted. If you find yourself under investigation, it’s always wisest to invoke your right to remain silent until you can seek legal guidance.



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