Las Vegas Involuntary Manslaughter FAQ

Involuntary manslaughter in Nevada is a crime some may not fully understand. Naturally, you may have questions about this topic if you’re facing an involuntary manslaughter charge in Las Vegas. The following FAQs can help you better understand the nature of your charges. This overview defines involuntary manslaughter and addresses several common misconceptions about the crime.

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It also addresses the value of a proper defense. If you’re currently facing involuntary manslaughter charges, the Las Vegas involuntary manslaughter attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group Criminal & Immigration are prepared to protect your rights. 

Question 1: What is Involuntary Manslaughter?

Per Nevada law, involuntary manslaughter is the unintentional killing of a human being: 

  • While committing an unlawful act, so long as the unlawful act is not a felony or 
  • While engaging in lawful conduct that has a high likelihood of resulting in someone’s accidental death “in an unlawful manner.”

Be aware that under Nevada law, involuntary manslaughter doesn’t include vehicular manslaughter. That’s a separate crime.

Question 2: What are Common Causes of Involuntary Manslaughter?

Various actions and circumstances can result in a charge of involuntary manslaughter. Examples include:

  • Engaging in careless behavior in dangerous environments, such as carelessly handling tools at a construction site, resulting in another person’s death
  • Handling a loaded gun that accidentally discharges, killing another person 
  • Shooting a firearm under the mistaken belief that the weapon is aimed at an animal and shooting and killing another person instead
  • Leaving dangerous, illegal substances in an unsecured area where a child can access the drugs and ingest them

Question 3: How is Involuntary Manslaughter Legally Punished?

Involuntary manslaughter is a category D felony in Nevada. Potential punishments for category D felonies in Nevada are:

  • No less than one year and no more than four years in state prison
  • A fine of no more than $5,000

The law states the fine may exceed $5,000 in circumstances where a court authorizes it, or the law requires a larger fine.

Question 4: What Must Be Proven in an Involuntary Manslaughter Case?

To secure a conviction for involuntary manslaughter, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s actions resulted in another person’s death. The State needs to show either that the defendant was breaking the law or that the defendant was acting negligently and that their actions led to the other person’s death.

Question 5: How Does Involuntary Manslaughter Differ From Negligent Homicide?

Nevada doesn’t have a negligent homicide law. Nevada’s involuntary manslaughter law applies to cases that may qualify as negligent homicide in other states.

However, some people confuse involuntary manslaughter with similar crimes, like voluntary manslaughter. However, these two crimes differ in critical ways. Under Nevada law, voluntary manslaughter is the killing of a human being in the heat of passion. For example, if a person inflicts or intends to inflict a “serious and highly provoking injury” on another person, and that person responds in a way that causes death, they could be charged with voluntary manslaughter. 

Question 6: Can Someone Be Sued for Involuntary Manslaughter?

Yes. Along with facing criminal penalties, someone accused of involuntary manslaughter in Nevada may be the target of a civil suit. Specifically, particular surviving loved ones of the decedent may file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit against the party responsible for their loved one’s death.

Question 7: How Can a Defense Attorney Help in an Involuntary Manslaughter Case?

If you face involuntary manslaughter charges in Las Vegas, a criminal defense attorney can help you in various ways. An experienced lawyer can assist you by: 

  • Explaining your rights and legal options, allowing you to make informed decisions about your case
  • Gathering and preserving evidence to weaken the prosecution’s case against you, including witness statements, security camera footage, or proof that you have an alibi 
  • Filing motions in court to have your case dismissed or have evidence suppressed 
  • Negotiating with the prosecution to have your charges reduced or dropped altogether or decrease the penalties you face
  • Communicating with law enforcement and prosecutors on your behalf
  • Representing you at trial, if necessary, and presenting a solid defense to help you secure the best outcome 
  • Filing an appeal if the court does not render a verdict in your favor

Question 8: Are There Any Defenses to Involuntary Manslaughter?

Yes. There are various defenses to involuntary manslaughter, depending on the circumstances. The following are a few common examples of defense strategies that a criminal defense attorney may use when representing a client facing involuntary manslaughter charges:

  • False accusations  A criminal defense attorney may present evidence showing that the police did not conduct a thorough investigation and arrested the wrong person or that the actual perpetrator framed the defendant to avoid liability.
  • Self-defense – A lawyer may argue that a defendant facing involuntary manslaughter charges acted in self-defense when they caused the other person’s death. For instance, a person who reasonably believes their life is in danger generally has the legal right to fight back, even if doing so results in death.
  • Lack of negligence – One defense strategy in an involuntary manslaughter case is to show that the defendant didn’t act negligently and is legally blameless. The defense may argue the death was an unfortunate accident for which no one is to blame.

A criminal defense attorney’s job is to poke holes in the prosecution’s argument, creating reasonable doubt about the defendant’s guilt. A qualified Las Vegas involuntary manslaughter defense attorney can review the details of your case and tailor your defense strategy accordingly.

Contact a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney

If you face charges of involuntary manslaughter in Las Vegas, you have rights and legal options. Don’t wait to contact a criminal defense attorney with De Castroverde Law Group Criminal & Immigration. We can review the facts of your case, gather crucial evidence, and build a solid defense strategy to protect your freedom and future. You don’t have to face this challenging time alone. Contact our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers today for a free, confidential consultation.