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Involuntary manslaughter: What it means in Minnesota

You were driving when you hit another vehicle. You never intended for anyone to get hurt, but someone was thrown and ended up with fatal injuries. Now, you face criminal charges. What kinds of charges could you face, and will you be looked at as a murderer?

You're likely to be charged with involuntary manslaughter, and it's not the same as someone who is charged with murder in any way.

What is involuntary manslaughter?

Involuntary manslaughter is when a person's death is caused by another person's recklessness or negligence. In a case of involuntary manslaughter, the person's death was not intentional. The act is a criminal offense because the accused's behavior was so reckless that it put others' lives in danger. In Minnesota, involuntary manslaughter crimes are penalized, but they're not penalized as severely as those for intentional manslaughter crimes.

Does Minnesota recognize manslaughter in different ways?

Yes, Minnesota recognizes criminal vehicular homicide, manslaughter of the second degree, against a human and against an unborn fetus. Vehicular homicides specifically refer to cases where a driver was negligent.

What is a depraved heart murder?

A killing that is committed with a depraved heart is not intentional, but it is a situation so likely to result in death that anyone with a heart would not have participated. For example, if you walk into a school and set off a bomb, you may not intend to kill any particular person, but the act itself is likely to cause harm to others.

Your attorney can help you defend yourself if you're charged. Accidents happen, and it's important that your side of the story is heard.

Source: FindLaw, "Minnesota Involuntary Manslaughter Law," accessed April 18, 2017

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