Accidentally taking the life of another human being can occur under a handful of circumstances. When a court finds that a killing is unintentional, the charge is often reduced from either murder or voluntary manslaughter to involuntary manslaughter.
Iowa involuntary manslaughter laws provide two paths that reach this lesser homicide crime. One path leads to a felony, while the other saddles the offender with a misdemeanor. This is a quick summary of involuntary manslaughter in Iowa.
Unintentional Killings that Amount to Iowa Involuntary Manslaughter
Iowa involuntary manslaughter laws make it a felony for any person who kills another while involved in a public offense other than a forcible felony. The most common way to reach this type of involuntary manslaughter is by killing someone on a public street while driving drunk. However, Iowa involuntary manslaughter laws also provides a charge for killings that occur when someone performs an act that has a high likelihood of causing serious injury or death without actually intending to cause the death that occurs.
The following table outlines the specifics of Iowa involuntary manslaughter laws.
Iowa Code §707.5: Involuntary Manslaughter
Under Iowa involuntary manslaughter laws, a person commits this crime:
When the person unintentionally causes the death of another person by the commission of a public offense other than a forcible felony or escape. This crime qualifies as a class "D" felony.
When the person unintentionally causes the death of another person by the commission of an act in a manner likely to cause death or serious injury. This crime qualifies as an aggravated misdemeanor.
Iowa criminal laws state that a class "D" felon must be confined for up to five years in prison, and will be fined at least $750 but not more than $7,500.
A person convicted of an aggravated misdemeanor faces a penalty of up to two years in prison and a fine of at least $625 but not to exceed $6,250.
Under Iowa involuntary manslaughter laws, a habitual offender is a person who has been convicted of the felony version of this crime in an Iowa court or a court in any other state. A person sentenced as an habitual offender will not be eligible for parole until the person has served a minimum of three years in prison.
Acts involving the death of another human being are extremely grave situations. It is important that you fully understand the extent of your charges and all of your rights. If you have been accused of involuntary manslaughter and require legal assistance, you can contact an Iowa criminal defense lawyer through FindLaw. Visit FindLaw's sections on involuntary manslaughter and criminal charges for more articles and information on this topic.