Involuntary Manslaughter

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Involuntary Manslaughter Lawyer in Cincinnati, OH

Involuntary manslaughter charges in Cincinnati, Ohio, can lead to serious penalties for the accused. This offense is a felony in the third degree, so a conviction results in the possibility of a defendant serving a five-year prison sentence.

An involuntary manslaughter conviction can change the course of a person’s life. Besides the risk of imprisonment, the accused could also have to pay hefty fines. The collateral consequences of a conviction—including social rejection, difficulty finding employment, and lost rights to child custody and gun ownership—can haunt the convicted felon for a lifetime.

That’s why you should consider hiring a criminal defense lawyer from Joslyn Law Firm. We’ve taken on more than 20,000 cases and have protected the rights of people accused of crimes. We can help people accused of violent crimes like involuntary manslaughter get their charges reduced, dropped, or expunged.

Joslyn Law Firm’s legal team has been recognized as a top criminal defense firm. Year after year, our founder, Brian Joslyn, has won awards for his services. The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys named Brian Joslyn one of the top 10 criminal defense lawyers in Ohio, and Columbus CEO magazine recognized Brian as a top lawyer. Our team is ready to put in the work to fight for your freedom.

Cincinnati Involuntary Manslaughter Lawyer

Even though involuntary manslaughter does not have the same penalties as murder or aggravated murder, a conviction of this crime comes with some serious penalties.

If the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) is investigating you for involuntary manslaughter—even if they’re just questioning you about such an offense—then waste no time hiring a lawyer who can represent your legal interests.

The lawyers at Joslyn Law Firm are prepared to use all the resources at their disposal and investigate your case. Our team believes in compassion and fairness when dealing with all clients, and you can expect this professionalism throughout your time working with our firm.

If police arrest you, immediately invoke your right to remain silent because what you say most definitely can and will be used against you in a court of law. Then call Joslyn Law Firm.

With Joslyn Law Firm by your side, you can rest assured that someone is fighting passionately to protect your rights and produce the best outcome for you. Call Joslyn Law Firm today at Joslyn Law Firm for a free consultation.

Involuntary Manslaughter in Ohio Information Center:

  • Involuntary Manslaughter Definitions in Ohio
  • Penalties for Involuntary Manslaughter in Cincinnati
  • Evidence in Hamilton County Involuntary Manslaughter Cases
  • Defenses to Ohio Involuntary Manslaughter Charges
  • Cincinnati Involuntary Manslaughter Resources
  • Ohio Involuntary Manslaughter News
  • FAQs for Involuntary Manslaughter in Ohio
  • Involuntary Manslaughter Lawyer in Cincinnati, OH

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Involuntary Manslaughter Definitions in Ohio

Sometimes someone’s reckless behavior causes another person’s death—not the intent to kill. Even in cases where a person unintentionally causes another person’s death because of criminal negligence or while in the act of committing a crime, the offense does not constitute murder and carries a lighter sentence than other homicide charges.

In Cincinnati, such an offense is called involuntary manslaughter, which is a felony of the third degree.

The Charge Depends on the Crime

The state defines the terms of involuntary manslaughter in Ohio Revised Code § 2903.04. According to the statute, involuntary manslaughter occurs when one person causes another person’s death.

Involuntary manslaughter can also occur when someone commits a misdemeanor, felony, or regulatory offense, and their actions result in someone’s unwanted miscarriage.

If the alleged offender causes someone’s death or a miscarriage while attempting to commit a felony, they will be charged with a first-degree felony.

On the other hand, if the alleged offender is attempting to commit a misdemeanor or regulatory offense, the alleged offender will be charged with a third-degree felony.

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Penalties for Involuntary Manslaughter in Cincinnati

The possible charges for involuntary manslaughter in Cincinnati include felony of the first degree and felony of the third degree. The penalties for a conviction of this offense depend on the charge, as follows:

  • First-degree felony: Prison term of as many as 11 years and a fine of up to $20,000
  • Third-degree felony: Prison term of between nine months and five years and a fine of up to $10,000

When the Offense Involves an OVI

In cases where any of the above actions occur from operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI), according to Ohio Revised Code § 4511.19, the alleged offender faces a suspension of their driver’s license and a mandatory prison sentence according to the level of charge associated with the offense.

Civil Action

An acquittal of these charges does not necessarily mean that someone accused of involuntary manslaughter can rest easy.

The survivors of the deceased have the right to pursue a wrongful death action. They would bring this case to civil court, which requires a lower burden of proof than a criminal court.

As such, the person accused of involuntary manslaughter might avoid prison time, but they might have to pay the decedent’s survivors the amount determined in a settlement or jury verdict against the defendant.

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Evidence in Hamilton County Involuntary Manslaughter Cases

Just as with any criminal case in Ohio, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. It is up to the prosecutor to prove that the defendant is guilty of involuntary manslaughter, rather than the defendant’s having to prove their innocence.

This is an important distinction because it plays a tremendous role in how a defense attorney mounts their defense against involuntary manslaughter charges.

What the Prosecution Must Prove

The prosecution does not need to prove intent to make a case of involuntary manslaughter. However, they must prove that the defendant’s actions:

  • Caused the death of another individual
  • Were reckless and dangerous
  • Were of a nature that the defendant should have known would threaten someone’s life

Dismantling the Prosecution’s Case

Our firm will devote considerable effort in reviewing and analyzing the prosecution’s evidence, looking for weaknesses they can exploit to raise reasonable doubt with the jury of the criteria required for proving involuntary manslaughter.

If we succeed in this effort, charges against you could be dismissed.

Sources of Evidence

The defendant’s lawyer could also look for evidence to support other defense strategies. Common sources of evidence include:

  • Witness testimonies
  • Police reports
  • Photographs of the scene of the alleged incident
  • Details of the investigation
  • Statements given following the arrest

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Defenses to Ohio Involuntary Manslaughter Charges

When representing their client, a Joslyn Law Firm attorney can construct a defense based on different types of arguments, such as the following:

The Death Was Accidental

The defense might present the argument that the defendant did not act recklessly or negligently, but the victim’s death occurred due to an accident. With this defense, the attorney would also have to present compelling evidence that the defendant couldn’t have known their actions would cause someone’s death.

The Defendant Acted in Self-Defense

In some cases, we can argue that the defendant acted out of self-defense. The attorney will present evidence that the defendant had a reasonable belief that they were in danger or that another person was in danger of serious harm or death.

We must also establish that the defendant acted in a way proportionate to the threat, not using any more force than they needed to avert the threat of harm.

The Plaintiff Is Making a False Accusation

Sometimes the defense of choice against involuntary manslaughter is, quite simply, that the defendant did not do it. With this defense, we’ll present evidence that witnesses mistakenly identified the defendant as the culprit.

In other cases, the defense might argue that a witness intentionally framed the defendant, perhaps as an act of revenge. A strong alibi serves as sturdy evidence for this type of defense.

There Is Insufficient Evidence

This defense goes back to the earlier section that describes the elements the prosecution must prove to make their case.

In the absence of other viable defenses, a defense lawyer from our firm can dismantle the prosecution’s case by discrediting their evidence. They can also call on violations of the defendant’s constitutional rights — chiefly, Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and right to remain silent, respectively, to have evidence suppressed.

Without sufficient evidence, a judge can dismiss a case of involuntary manslaughter.

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Cincinnati Involuntary Manslaughter Resources

Ohio Attorney General | Crime Victim Services

The Ohio Attorney General website offers resources for families of involuntary manslaughter victims. Here, you can find a victim compensation fund for financial help following a crime.

Ohio Office of the Public Defender (OPD) | Criminal Law Casebook

The OPD has a comprehensive website full of case law and statutes related to criminal acts. Their homicide offenses section has an entry on involuntary manslaughter. You can look at related statutes and previous cases like yours to help you with your defense.

Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission | Felony Sentencing Quick Reference Guide

This guide goes over different felony types and their corresponding sentences. Since involuntary manslaughter can be charged in a few different ways, it can be helpful to know how you might be sentenced if you’re convicted.

State v. Oller

In this 2017 decision from the Court of Appeals of Ohio Tenth Appellate District, the defendant appealed the 21-year sentence imposed on him after a jury found him guilty of a single count of involuntary manslaughter. The jury found that Oller acted under provocation.

However, the trial court judge found that Oller’s actions leading to the victim’s death were calculated, and he rejected the jury’s finding. He also found Oller to be a repeat offender.

The Court of Appeals reversed this decision and remanded for a new sentencing hearing, based on the court’s belief that the trial court erred in its rejection of the finding that Oller had been provoked.

State v. Losey

In 1985, the Court of Appeals of Ohio found a defendant guilty of aggravated burglary and involuntary manslaughter. The case involved the defendant breaking into a house at 11 p.m. to steal a bicycle.

When a car approached the house, Losey abandoned the bike and left the door to the house open. The house owner testified that around 1 a.m., he heard a noise and noted that the front door was open. He sent his mother to her bedroom while he searched the house. When he returned, the mother looked upset and collapsed. The mother died.

The petitioner argued that the burglary was not the proximate cause of death and petitioned to have the involuntary manslaughter charge reversed. The appeals court overruled the assignment of error and upheld the trial court’s decision.

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Ohio Involuntary Manslaughter News

January 7, 2021

“First Warren Co. Man Convicted of Drug-Related Involuntary Manslaughter Gets Early Release”

Austin Wells, the first man to be convicted of drug-related involuntary manslaughter in Warren County, was released halfway into his 10-year sentence. A judge convicted Wells in 2015 after he inadvertently killed his friend by giving him cocaine and fentanyl. Wells was released on a strict community control order, meaning he will be under close watch. He was also ordered to spend time in a drug treatment and mental health program.

August 28, 2020

Man Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter for Deadly Overdoses”

Furious Carney, accused of selling fatal doses of fentanyl and heroin to two individuals, was indicted on charges of drug trafficking and involuntary manslaughter. Carney was arrested in Northern Kentucky and was extradited, bringing him to the Hamilton County Justice Center, where he was held on a $1 million bond. The judge refused Carney’s request to lower the bond, remarking that these were “very, very serious charges.” Noting his “tremendous concern” for the community’s safety, the judge added that if convicted, Carney could face a prison sentence of more than 20 years.

July 7, 2020

“Mother Charged in Drowning Death of One-Year-Old Girl”

A 23-year-old mother, Jessica Fisher, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and endangering a child after her one-year-old daughter drowned in a bathtub. The child had been left unattended at the mother’s home. She later died at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The judge in Fisher’s case is not required to impose any incarceration in his sentencing. Instead, she could be penalized with probation and fines. If Fisher does spend time behind bars, it could be as many as three years in prison.

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FAQs for Involuntary Manslaughter in Ohio

Q. What types of penalties do I face if convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Cincinnati?

  1. If convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Ohio, your penalties depend on the level of charges against you. For a felony of the first degree, you could be sentenced to up to 11 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. For a third-degree felony, you face anywhere from nine months to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If your offense happened in conjunction with an OVI, your license could be suspended.

Q. Can I get my involuntary manslaughter charges dismissed or reduced in Ohio?

  1. Yes, an attorney from Joslyn Law Firm can negotiate a plea bargain to have your involuntary manslaughter charges reduced. They can also argue mitigating circumstances toward the same end. To have your charges dismissed, your lawyer can work to suppress and otherwise weaken the prosecution’s evidence so that it’s insufficient to make the charge stick.

Q. Will I go to jail in Cincinnati for involuntary manslaughter?

  1. If you are convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Ohio, you do face possible prison time. Depending on the level of charges brought against you, you could be sentenced to a prison term of between nine months and 11 years. If your offense involved an OVI, mandatory prison time would accompany your sentencing.

Q. What constitutes involuntary manslaughter in Hamilton County?

According to Ohio Revised Code § 2903.04, involuntary manslaughter occurs when one individual causes another person death or involuntary miscarriage as a result of the offender’s criminal negligence or recklessness, particularly if the offender should have known that their actions could lead to another person’s death.

Q. Are there any defenses to involuntary manslaughter in Cincinnati?

  1. Yes, there are several defenses a defense attorney from our firm can mount on behalf of our clients charged with involuntary manslaughter in Hamilton County. These defenses include:
  • The defendant acted in self-defense.
  • The plaintiff is making false accusations.
  • The defendant’s constitutional rights were violated.
  • There is insufficient evidence.
  • The decedent’s death was accidental.

Q. What is the difference between voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter?

The difference between voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter in Ohio is the issue of intent. With voluntary manslaughter, the defendant is accused of behaving in a way with the intention to kill the victim and succeeding in this regard. With involuntary manslaughter, the accused is argued to have killed the victim without intending to, but rather via the defendant’s criminal negligence or recklessness.

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Cincinnati Involuntary Manslaughter Defense Lawyer

An involuntary manslaughter conviction can lead to devastating consequences for the accused. If you have been arrested or charged with this offense, we strongly urge you to remain silent until you have retained legal counsel to guide you through any questioning.

It is extremely easy to have your rights violated during the criminal justice process. Imagine the peace of mind you will enjoy from knowing that an award-winning law firm is working on your case.

Call Joslyn Law Firm today at (513) 399-6289 for a free consultation about your involuntary manslaughter charges.

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  • Brian Joslyn was named Best Lawyer in 2019 by Birdeye.
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