Michigan Involuntary Manslaughter Law

Any death is tragic and we all know killing someone is wrong. But what happens when someone is killed by accident or by carelessness? Is it still murder? If not, is it still a crime? And if it is a crime, what are the possible penalties? The following article provides a brief summary of what is known as involuntary manslaughter law in Michigan.

Involuntary Manslaughter Generally

Involuntary manslaughter (also called criminally negligent manslaughter) occurs when a person is accidentally killed due to someone else's criminal negligence, or when someone is killed during another crime, where the intent was not to cause bodily injury or death. Unlike a murder charge, involuntary manslaughter means that a person had no intention of killing another, but due to their careless or reckless actions caused the death of a human being.

Manslaughter and DUI

In Michigan, it often occurs in a driving under the influence situation or even when a driver is distracted and causes an accident. For example, Don is talking on his mobile phone about an important business deal and not paying any attention to the road. If Don runs a red light, hitting and killing Roger, he could be guilty of involuntary manslaughter because the accident was actually caused by Don's grossly negligent driving.

Manslaughter Civil Penalties

Even if a person is charged with involuntary manslaughter in criminal court and is acquitted, the deceased’s family may file a wrongful death claim in civil court. Most wrongful death lawsuits follow in the wake of criminal trials, using similar evidence but with a lower standard of proof. Regardless, someone found liable for wrongful death may or may not be convicted of a crime associated with that death.

Michigan Involuntary Manslaughter Statutes

The following table highlights the main provisions of Michigan's involuntary manslaughter laws.

Code Sections

Michigan Penal Code 750.321

A.K.A.

"Criminally negligent homicide"

What is Prohibited?

Unintentionally killing another person that resulting from recklessness or criminal negligence, or from an unlawful act that is a misdemeanor or low-level felony (such as DUI)

Penalty

Felony, up to 15 yrs. in prison, a fine up to $7500, and restitution to the victim's family.

Civil Case

Possible wrongful death lawsuit

Michigan Involuntary Manslaughter Laws: Related Resources

Dealing with any criminal charge can be a frightening experience. If you do find yourself facing an involuntary manslaughter charge, you may wish to contact an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney for assistance. For more general information on this topic, you can visit FindLaw’s sections on Involuntary Manslaughter Definitions, Involuntary Manslaughter Penalties and Sentences, and Voluntary Manslaughter.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.