Involuntary manslaughter charges in Rhode Island
Involuntary manslaughter is an unintentional homicide either in the performance of an unlawful act not amounting to a felony (i.e. a misdemeanor, also known as Misdemeanor Manslaughter) or in the performance of a lawful act with criminal negligence.
Under Rhode Island criminal law, Involuntary Manslaughter may be found under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-23-3.
Legal elements of involuntary manslaughter
In order to be convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter, there must exist strong evidence of the following legal elements:
- that the defendant committed an unlawful act not amounting to a felony (i.e. a misdemeanor) or a lawful act with criminal negligence;
- the defendant did so wantonly or recklessly; and
- the death was caused by the defendant’s intentional act.
A person who wantonly or recklessly does an act that results in the death of another human being is guilty of manslaughter, even though he did not contemplate such a result. Nothing more is required than the intentional doing of an act which, by reason of its wanton or reckless character, exposes another person to injury, and causes such injury or death.
Examples of involuntary manslaughter
The following are some factual examples of Involuntary Manslaughter.
- A person driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and hits and kills a pedestrian or someone in another vehicle;
- Two men are arguing over a football game while in the stands and one man pushes the other man, causing him to fall and he dies from the injuries;
- Two women get into a fight over a pair of shoes in a store. One woman punches the other woman in the side of the head not knowing she has an underlying condition which ultimately leads to the victim’s death;
- While driving a motorist reaches down to pick up his cellphone to send a text message. When the motorist looks up, a pedestrian is crossing the street at the red light. The motorist, unable stop in time, hits and kills the pedestrian;
- A mother ingests drugs and then breastfeeds for her baby. The baby ingests the drugs through the milk and dies of an overdose;
- While driving at a reckless speed down a backroad racing with another vehicle, one of the cars strikes and kills a person who was crossing the street.
Potential punishment if convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Rhode Island
Under Rhode Island law, a conviction for Involuntary Manslaughter is a felony and the defendant shall be punished by imprisonment not exceeding 30 years. This penalty may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-23-3.
If you have been charged with an Involuntary Manslaughter offense and need experienced representation, contact the RI Murder Defense Lawyers at the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III email or call today at (401) 351-5100 to schedule a free consultation.