Involuntary manslaughter is an illegal act in Tennessee. It includes several different kinds of killings that were a result of reckless, grossly negligent or unlawful actions. Involuntary manslaughter charges may be filed when a person kills another as a result of their disregard for another person’s safety or the risk of death when performing certain acts.
These deaths are accidental, but they are still charged criminally. Involuntary manslaughter is less serious than charges for intentional killings, but it can still lead to harsh penalties.
Three categories of involuntary manslaughter
There are three categories of involuntary manslaughter in Tennessee including:
- Criminally negligent homicide
- Reckless homicide
- Vehicular homicide
Criminally negligent homicide is defined as causing death due to your own negligent conduct. Reckless homicide includes the reckless killing of another person. Vehicular homicide refers to the reckless killing of another person while driving in a vehicle. Aggravated vehicular homicide is when you have two vehicular assault convictions from the past or two DUIs in the past. It also applies with a prior vehicular homicide. It may apply if your BAC was .20% or higher at the time of the incident and you have a prior vehicular assault or DUI.
Interestingly, both criminally negligent and reckless homicide are loosely defined to address a wide number of actions that could be considered criminal.
Every one of these charges is a felony, though they are different classes. For example, criminal homicide is a Class E felony in the state, whereas aggravated vehicular homicide can be a Class A felony. Reckless homicide is a Class D felony, but vehicular homicide is a Class B or C felony, depending on the case.
What are the differences in felony classes?
Felony classes have different penalties. For Class B felonies, you face eight to 30 years in prison and fines up to $25,000. Class C felonies have maximum fines of $10,000 and between three to 15 years in prison as a sentence. Class D felonies have fines no more than $5,000 and require two to 12 years in prison. Class E felonies carry a prison term of one to six years and fines not to exceed $3,000.
It is true that the deaths caused under the circumstances may not have been intentional, but the courts will still hold the defendant responsible when the evidence is strong enough. You should always work with an attorney if you are facing any kind of homicide charge.