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Hawaii Involuntary Manslaughter Law

Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors.

Criminal homicide, the unlawful killing of another person, is broken down into several different crimes in Hawaii: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter (called voluntary manslaughter in some states), and negligent homicide (also known as involuntary manslaughter). This article focuses on Hawaii's involuntary manslaughter law that criminalizes unintentional killings that result from criminal negligence.

Negligent Homicide (Involuntary Manslaughter) in Hawaii

Code Section

Hawaii Revised Statutes sections 707-702.5 to 707-704: Negligent Homicide

What's Prohibited?

First-Degree Negligent Homicide: Causing the death of:

  • Another person by operating a vehicle in a negligent manner while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or
  • A vulnerable user by the operation of a vehicle in a negligent manner

Second-Degree Negligent Homicide: Causing the death of:

  • Another person by operating a vehicle in a negligent manner, or
  • A vulnerable user by the operation of a vehicle in a manner that constitutes simple negligence

Third-Degree Negligent Homicide: Causing the death of another person while operating a vehicle in a manner that qualifies as simple negligence.

Definition of "Simple Negligence"

 

A person can act with "simple negligence" with respect to a person's conduct, the attendant circumstances, or a potential result of their own conduct.
  • A person acts with simple negligence with respect to their conduct when the person should be aware of a risk but engages in the conduct anyway.
  • A person acts with simple negligence with respect to the attendant circumstances when they should be aware of a risk inherent in those circumstances exist.
  • A person acts with simple negligence with respect to a result of the person's conduct when the person should be aware of a risk that the person's conduct will cause that result.

Penalties

  • First-degree negligent homicide is a class B felony.
  • Second-degree negligent homicide is a class C felony.
  • Third-degree negligent homicide is a misdemeanor offense.

Related Crimes

What happens when a person's reckless or criminally negligent actions result in injury to another, rather than in death? In Hawaii, this person would likely be guilty of either first or second-degree negligent injury.

First-Degree Negligent Injury:

  • Causing serious bodily injury to another person by operating a vehicle in a negligent manner, or
  • Causing substantial bodily injury to a vulnerable user by operating a vehicle in a negligent manner

Second-Degree Negligent Injury: An offender is guilty of second-degree negligent injury if they cause substantial bodily injury to another person by operating a vehicle in a negligent manner.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Hawaii's involuntary manslaughter law contact a local criminal defense lawyer.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.