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Understanding involuntary manslaughter charges in Washington

Involuntary manslaughter is a charge made when a person was killed by another, not through intention, but through recklessness, disregard for safety or negligence. Since intent was not involved, it has lesser penalties than any type of murder or voluntary manslaughter; however, it is still an extremely serious crime.

The crime is usually concluded as a felony both within the state and in compliance with federal law. When a crime is treated as a felony, it generally means that it carries a sentence of a minimum of 12 months imprisonment, but depending on the severity, it can be much longer, and has the potential to include fines and probation.

What part does the federal level play in sentencing?

Under federal law, the guidelines state that the basic sentence in relation to an involuntary manslaughter charge is a prison sentence between 10 and 16 months. However, this is usually a realistic sentence when the crime was related to reckless behavior. When the involuntary manslaughter was caused in the context of a car accident, however, the sentence is likely to be higher.

The sentence will depend largely on the exact circumstances of the incident. For example, when negligence was present in the context of the crime, it can be a completely different circumstance to a drunk person recklessly operating a vehicle at excessive speeds.

Understanding the consequences of an involuntary manslaughter charge or a similar type of felony can be extremely complex. It is important to research the area fully so that you understand every aspect of the law from both a federal and state level.

Source: FindLaw, "Involuntary Manslaughter Penalties and Sentencing," accessed Feb. 16, 2018

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