What is involuntary manslaughter?

Many Massachusetts' residents can probably rattle off names of people they know who have gotten behind the wheel intoxicated and gotten home without any incident or interaction with law enforcement agencies. Unfortunately, not many realize that it takes one second for everything to go wrong. One incoherent moment and an accident with someone else ups the charges from a DUI to involuntary manslaughter charges.

In Massachusetts, when someone unintentionally causes the death of someone else while engaging in reckless behavior, it is known as involuntary manslaughter. This means that the person accused of killing the other person did not intend to cause the death. In other words, there was no premeditation. When someone is operating their vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and acting negligently or recklessly, and as a result causes someone else's death, motor vehicle homicide has occurred. Depending on the circumstances, this offense could be deemed either a felony or a misdemeanor.

Motor vehicle homicide is considered a felony if the defendant was operating his or her vehicle on a public pathway while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and caused the death of someone else. It is a misdemeanor if the above situation exists but the person could even be under the influence of other intoxicating substances or even without being under the influence of any substances, the driver was driving negligently and recklessly, and he or she directly caused the death of someone else.

The penalties for involuntary manslaughter, such as felony motor vehicle homicide, are very serious. An accused person faces from two and a half to 15 years in jail or state prison, fines, and license revocation for 15 years. This is why these charges should be taken very seriously, and an aggressive defense mounted immediately. An experienced defense attorney may be able to guide the accused through the process.

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