In Michigan, car crashes and other accidents caused by one person may result in the death of another. If the person who caused the fatal accident was accused of criminal negligence, they may find themselves facing an involuntary manslaughter charge.
Simply put, a person may be charged with involuntary manslaughter if they accidentally cause another person's death as a result of criminal negligence or while committing a crime that did not intend to result in death or bodily injury. This is the main difference between an involuntary manslaughter charge and a murder charge; in order to be charged with murder, the prosecution must have evidence that the accused person intended to cause bodily harm or intended to kill another person. Prosecutors do not have to prove that the accused person intended to harm or kill another person in order to charge them with involuntary manslaughter.
If a person is charged with involuntary manslaughter, a felony charge, there are several penalties they may face if they are convicted. These penalties include a maximum of 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $7,500. Additionally, they may be required to pay compensation to the deceased person's family members. Even if the person is acquitted, they may still be named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit filed by the family of the deceased person.
There are several different defense strategies a criminal defense attorney may use to seek an acquittal for their client. However, since the strategies may differ depending upon the circumstances specific to their client's case, individuals who have been charged with involuntary manslaughter may wish to seek legal advice.
Source: FindLaw, "Michigan Involuntary Manslaughter Law", December 01, 2014