In recent years the news has reported recurrent incidents of injury and/or death of arrestees by incidents involving law enforcement officials. Most recently is the incident arising in Baltimore, Maryland that has made national headlines. On April 12, 2015 Freddie Gray, a 25-year old African-American man was arrested by the Baltimore Police Department for possessing what police alleged was an illegal switchblade. While being transported in a police van, Gray sustained life-threatening injuries to his spinal cord. Gray died seven days later and now six Baltimore police officers have been charged in his death due to the injuries he sustained while in police custody.
Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby says that a medical examiner concluded that Gray’s fatal injury occurred in a police transport van taking him to a station house. The Baltimore prosecutor has now charged the six officers with counts ranging from false imprisonment to manslaughter and second-degree murder.
In California, there are two types of manslaughter, voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter is a killing committed with no prior intent to kill, either committed in the heat of passion or under circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to become emotionally or mentally disturbed.
In contrast, involuntary manslaughter is an unintentional killing. In California, involuntary manslaughter occurs when a defendant kills another unintentionally while either committing a non-inherently dangerous felony, or by committing a lawful act which without due caution may produce death. What differentiates involuntary manslaughter is that it does not require the intent to kill another, unlike murder, which requires malice aforethought.
If convicted of involuntary manslaughter a defendant faces 2, 3, or 4 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. In contrast, murder carries a potential life sentence and often times there are cases where defendants plead down to involuntary manslaughter or are convicted of involuntary manslaughter as a lesser-included offense because the jury does not find the malice required. The Los Angeles prosecutor’s office usually seeks the maximum penalties in these cases.
A related offense is codified under California Penal Code 192 (c): vehicular manslaughter. Vehicular manslaughter is like the crime of involuntary manslaughter. The difference between them is that it can only occur when the defendant is driving a car. Vehicular manslaughter can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor if it is gross vehicular manslaughter.
The potential felony sentence for vehicular manslaughter is higher than involuntary manslaughter and it carries a potential sentence of 2, 4, or 6 years imprisonment. Vehicular manslaughter is charged as a misdemeanor if committed with “ordinary negligence,” and it is punishable by up to 1 year in jail.
Get Legal Help Now
If you have been charged with involuntary manslaughter in Los Angeles you are facing very serious charges. It is important to hire an attorney who knows the law and who can assert the proper defenses in your case.
The Rodriguez Law Group has the experience and dedication you need on your side. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Rodriguez knows how the prosecution and police put their case together against you. His experience and knowledge can be used to your advantage either in negotiating a plea or taking your case to trial. Contact our office today to discuss your case.
The Rodriguez Law Group
626 Wilshire Blvd Suite 460
Los Angeles, CA 90017