Florida and federal law recognize several types of homicide, which range from first-degree murder to voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. While the end result of each type of crime is the same — the untimely death of one individual at the hands of another — the state differentiates between the crimes based on the circumstances leading up to the killing.
According to FindLaw, involuntary manslaughter refers to the unintentional killing that results from recklessness or criminal negligence. Though not as severe as voluntary manslaughter or outright murder, a conviction carries strict and life-altering consequences, including the destruction of one’s career. When a person faces involuntary manslaughter charges, it is important that he or she knows the possible defense options.
Per FindLaw, there are four common defenses to involuntary manslaughter: It was an accident, self-defense, insufficient evidence and wrongfully accused. For the accident defense to hold up, one would need to show that the incident occurred without him or her having acted irresponsibly or negligently. To do this, the defense would have to prove that the defendant was unaware that his or her actions could have resulted in another’s death.
Many states allow for the acquittal of involuntary manslaughter charges if the defendant can show that he or she acted in self-defense. Self-defense entails protecting oneself or another against the threat of imminent serious injury or death.
In any criminal case, the prosecution has the burden of proof. The defense may challenge the state’s case through interviews with witnesses, a reexamination of evidence, investigations and other legal actions. If a criminal defense attorney can successfully create even a niggling of doubt, the jury cannot convict the defendant.
Sometimes, a person who commits a crime will falsely accuse another. Other times, the defendant was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is also not uncommon for individuals to be arrested by overzealous police officers who desperately want to close a case. In each of these situations, the defendant is innocent, and the prosecution has the burden of proving he or she is not, which can be difficult without sufficient evidence.