In New Mexico, manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice. In contrast, murder is the killing of another human being through a willful, deliberate, and premeditated act. The crime of manslaughter is divided between voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.
Voluntary manslaughter consists of an intentional killing for which there was a mitigating circumstance which reduces the crime from murder. Involuntary manslaughter, on the other hand, consists of a killing that was unintentional, resulting from either recklessness or criminal negligence.
For example, if a person decided to drive a car blindfolded and ended up in a car accident where passengers were killed, the act would be perceived as reckless since it may be anticipated that death or serious injury would occur from such actions and the person would be charged with voluntary manslaughter. Another example is if the same person, knowing that his car had serious brake problems, allowed another person to drive his car. This may be perceived as a criminally negligent act and the person may be charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Penalties for involuntary manslaughter are generally less severe than other forms of homicide. However, in New Mexico, it is still a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. The following is a quick summary of New Mexico's involuntary manslaughter laws.
New Mexico Involuntary Manslaughter Law
The following table outlines New Mexico's involuntary manslaughter law.
||NEW MEXICO STAT. ANN. § 30-2-3
|What is Prohibited?
A killing which occurs under any of the following circumstances is involuntary manslaughter:
While committing a crime which does not amount to a felony
While acting in a reckless manner which may cause the death or another person
While committing any other act which may cause the death of another person in an unlawful manner
||Voluntary manslaughter is a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
The death was an accident and the person was not acting in a reckless manner or with criminal negligence.
New Mexico Involuntary Manslaughter Laws: Related Resources
Manslaughter is a serious crime. If you or someone you know has been charged with manslaughter, you may want to contact an experienced New Mexico criminal defense attorney for assistance. You may also want to read FindLaw's Involuntary Manslaughter Overview, Involuntary Manslaughter Defenses, and Involuntary Manslaughter Penalties and Sentencing for more articles and information on this topic.