It can be frightening to be blamed for a fatality and to face charges as a result. If you were accused of unintentionally causing the death of another person, you are probably facing manslaughter charges. At the Marinaro Law, we often deal with people who are looking at an uncertain future after an accidental death. It may help you and other Pennsylvania residents to understand what defines involuntary manslaughter.
According to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, someone who is charged with involuntary manslaughter usually did not have an intent to kill someone else. Often, the death in question results from reckless or negligent behavior, which may or may not have included illegal activity. For example, you may have been charged with involuntary manslaughter if you were speeding or texting while driving, which resulted in a collision with another vehicle that killed the driver. Another example of involuntary manslaughter might be the accidental death of your friend, if you were showing off with a loaded firearm and the gun discharged. In either of these cases, you did not set out to harm someone else, but the reckless behavior resulted in charges.
Involuntary manslaughter is considered a first-degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania. The consequences you might face are less severe than those you could face if you accidentally killed someone out of anger, or if you had planned on harming another. However, you might face prison time or fines for an accidental death. Our page on homicide and manslaughter explains this issue in greater detail.