Involuntary Manslaughter in Florida Explained By a Criminal Defense Law Firm in Tampa

The terms homicide, murder, and manslaughter can easily become confusing, especially when it seems like one defendant gets life for murder and another gets a few years of probation for manslaughter. The fact is that homicide is a broad term used to describe the killing of one individual by another and encompasses both murder and manslaughter. And while murder is any homicide committed purposefully and knowingly, manslaughter is an unintentional homicide that may be categorized as voluntary or involuntary.

Voluntary manslaughter occurs when one individual kills another without any premeditation, such as in the heat of the passion. Involuntary manslaughter, on the other hand, is when an individual is killed as a result of a wanton disregard for life but no premeditation. While the Florida Statutes themselves do not differentiate between these two types of manslaughter, the classification does play a vital role in the decision of the judge and, thus, your sentencing. If you have been charged with involuntary manslaughter in Florida, don’t wait until it’s too late to reach out to a criminal defense law firm in Tampa.

Definition of Involuntary Manslaughter

Involuntary manslaughter, in its simplest terms, is when a person unintentionally kills another person. Typically, this death is a result of reckless behavior or criminal negligence. There must be no premeditation or malice involved. Some of the most common scenarios that result in charges of involuntary manslaughter include:

  • Reckless driving
  • Texting and driving
  • Drinking and driving
  • Fist-fighting
  • Administering prescription pills

If someone dies because of a punch you threw in an otherwise non-deadly fist fight, you could be charged with involuntary manslaughter. The same goes for if you accidentally administer a lethal dose of a drug or crash into another individual as a result of reckless driving. 

Proving Involuntary Manslaughter

In order for you to be convicted of involuntary manslaughter, the prosecution must prove the three following elements:

  • Someone died as a result of your actions
  • Your actions were inherently dangerous to others or performed with a wanton disregard for human life
  • You knew or should have known that your actions were a direct threat to the lives of others 

In the event that you are convicted, you will be charged with a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and up to $10,000 in fines. This punishment can be increased to a first-degree felony if the manslaughter was of an elderly individual or a child.

Review Your Available Defenses With the Best Criminal Defense Law Firm in Tampa

Fortunately, with the help of the best criminal defense law firm in Tampa, there are defenses you can utilize to defend you from the charges brought against you. The three main defenses you may have at your disposal are self-defense, excusable homicide, and justifiable homicide. If you can prove with the help of an attorney that you either used deadly force in defense of your person, that the killing occurred on accident while engaged in a lawful act, or your actions were a result of someone attempting to kill you, you may be able to have your charges dropped or at the least reduced. We may also attempt to prove that the prosecution’s evidence doesn’t align with or support that of an involuntary manslaughter charge. No matter what the circumstances surrounding your case are, you can rest assured knowing that our legal team will get to work putting together a strategy to defend you against the charges brought against you. 

For a free consultation with the best criminal defense law firm in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm at (813) 999-0502 or submit our contact request form.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Case Results

State Dropped Possession of Marijuana and Resisting Arrest Without Violence Charge

Hillsborough County 11-CM-21379
Show More


The Client was arrested for Felony Battery on a Pregnant Female. Attorney Anthony Rickman diligently worked and convinced the State not to prosecute the Client and the Charges against the Client were all dropped.
Show More

Violation of Probation Dismissed

Hillsborough County 04-CF-010147
Show More