You were driving on the highway faster than the posted speed limit in the hope of reaching home faster when your worst fear happened: Traffic stopped, and you didn’t have time to avoid it.
In your larger vehicle, you were well protected against the impact of the crash. The same was not true for the occupants of the vehicle you struck. They were badly hurt, and one of them passed away as a result of the injuries they suffered. Now, you’re facing involuntary manslaughter charges.
Involuntary manslaughter, which is also known as criminally negligent homicide, can be charged when you kill another person accidentally but through obviously negligent or reckless behaviors. You might also face this charge under the term “vehicular manslaughter” since the collision involved vehicles.
Can you go to prison for involuntary manslaughter?
In Florida, you can face up to 15 years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines and may face 15 years of probation. If you’re accused of aggravated manslaughter, then the prison term could increase up to 30 years.
When the penalties are being considered, your criminal history will be factored into the deliberations. Someone with no history of wrongdoing is going to be in a better position to fight the charge or charges compared to someone who has previously been in trouble with the law.
Are there defenses to involuntary manslaughter charges?
Yes, there are. One is using deadly force to defend against a felony that is committed on your property or against a person. Another defense is if the defendant can show that they were not acting recklessly in a way that would qualify as culpable negligence.
Here’s an example. In the same case, if you can show that you tried to brake but that the brakes were defective in your vehicle, you may not be considered reckless. Similarly, if another vehicle cuts you off in traffic and slams on its brakes, any injuries those individuals suffer may not be a result of your actions.
It is important to know that state laws frequently change. If you face any kind of misdemeanor or felony, it’s smart to work with an attorney to get to know the laws and how they could affect your case. Criminal cases can pile on the charges, threatening your freedoms. From the moment the incident occurs, it’s always advisable to reach out to an attorney and to have a legal team on your side.