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Georgia Involuntary Manslaughter Laws

Georgia: Involuntary Manslaughter Charges

When someone takes the life of another, regardless of intent or other details surrounding the incident, it is called a homicide. In Georgia, there is a category known as involuntary manslaughter.

Involuntary manslaughter is when a person kills someone doing something legal in an illegal way. It's a death that results due to an act of recklessness or criminal negligence. It often occurs when a person commits a misdemeanor or low-level felony such as a driving under the influence (DUI) offense.

The driver never intended to kill someone, but the illegal behavior of driving under the influence was the cause. Unlike a murder charge, involuntary manslaughter means that a person had no intention of killing another person, but due to their careless actions caused the death of a human being. Involuntary manslaughter is the least serious homicide charge in Georgia, but a person facing an involuntary manslaughter charge still faces a number of years in prison if convicted.

Involuntary Manslaughter and Civil Cases

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. The burden of proof is less in a civil rather than a criminal case. Thus, the family may get justice in the form of financial compensation. Criminal courts do not always award financial restitution to the victim's survivors, so filing a civil claim may be the only way to recover damages.

Keep in mind, each homicide case is unique and many cases can potentially fall into one or more of the categories homicide. Prosecutors and defense attorneys sometimes work cases out and agree on which homicide statute applies to a case. Other times, a judge or a jury will have to decide.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Georgia's Involuntary Manslaughter Laws. See also Involuntary Manslaughter Definitions, Involuntary Manslaughter Penalties and Sentences, and Voluntary Manslaughter.

Code Sections O.C.G.A. 16-5-3

"Negligent homicide"

What is Prohibited?

Unintentional 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 or misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances
Civil Case Possible wrongful death lawsuit

Get Legal Help with Your Involuntary Manslaughter Case in Georgia

If you do find yourself facing an involuntary manslaughter charge, it will be important to contact a criminal defense lawyer in Georgia for assistance. An experienced criminal defense attorney can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence against you, explain possible defenses and help you develop evidence to support those defenses.

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