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Understanding An Involuntary Manslaughter Charge In Alaska

by | Aug 29, 2022 | Federal Crimes

There are several different types of homicidal charges in Alaska. While all involve the loss of life, the unique circumstances of your case will influence the judge’s decision and sentencing.

What constitutes involuntary manslaughter in Alaska

According to Alaska Statutes 11.41.120, involuntary manslaughter occurs when a person causes the death of another person without intending to do so. This can happen in several ways, including:

  • Killing someone while committing a misdemeanor or felony offense
  • Committing vehicular homicide by operating a vehicle in a negligent or reckless manner
  • Causing the death of another person through criminal negligence
  • Engaging in conduct that creates a grave risk of death or serious bodily injury to another person and causing the death of that person as a result

Punishment for involuntary manslaughter in Alaska

The punishment for involuntary manslaughter in Alaska depends on the circumstances of the crime and the offender’s criminal history. If the offense was committed while the offender was committing another misdemeanor or felony, then it would be classified as a class A felony. The penalty for this is usually 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

If involuntary manslaughter occurred as a result of vehicular homicide, then it is classified as a class B felony. The punishment for this could be up to ten years in prison and a $100,000 fine. And, if the offense was committed through criminal negligence, then it is classified as a class C felony, which carries a potential sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

Defenses to involuntary manslaughter charges in Alaska

If accused of this crime, you or your criminal defense attorney could use the following defenses to at least reduce the charges or get them dismissed altogether:

  • The defendant did not have the mental capacity to understand their actions
  • The defendant was not criminally negligent (e.g., they took precautions to avoid causing death or serious injury)
  • The defendant was acting in self-defense or defense of others
  • The defendant’s actions did not cause the victim’s death (e.g., they died of natural causes)

Generally, all types of manslaughter are serious offenses that come with significant penalties. However, others are even harsher. Failure to understand the intricate details of your circumstances could entirely change the course of your case.