Negligent homicide is the killing of another person through gross negligence and without malice. The charge of negligent homicide is therefore generally brought against persons who through their criminal negligence allow others to die. Negligent homicide is considered a lesser offense to first and second degree murder.
All states in the U.S. define negligent homicide by statute. In some states, the offense includes the killing of another while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Negligent homicide also often includes death that is the result of the negligent operation of a motor vehicle, which includes the operation of a boat or snowmobile. It is characterized as a death caused by conduct that grossly deviated from ordinary care. Negligent homicide is often charged as a lesser-included offense of manslaughter. It is also sometimes referred to as “involuntary manslaughter.”
The following is an example of a state statute dealing with negligent homicide:
“(a) (1) A person commits negligent homicide if he or she negligently causes the death of another person, not constituting murder or manslaughter, as a result of operating a vehicle, an aircraft, or a watercraft:
(A) While intoxicated; or
(B) If at that time there is an alcohol concentration of eight-hundredths (0.08) or more in the person’s breath or blood…as determined by a chemical test of the person’s blood, urine, breath, or other bodily substance.
(2) A person who violates subdivision (a) (1) of this section is guilty of a Class C felony.
(b) (1) A person who commits negligent homicide if he or she negligently causes the death of another person. A person who violates subdivision (b) (1) of this section is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.”