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Negligent Homicide Sentence
(3 Common Types & Definition)

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt
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Navigating the complexities of the legal system can be daunting, particularly when dealing with a negligent homicide sentence. Understanding this type of case’s potential sentences, legal defenses, and intricacies is crucial for anyone facing such allegations.

As an attorney, I will provide comprehensive knowledge of criminal negligence, drawing from my years of experience working on negligent homicide cases. We will delve into the world of negligent homicide and offer valuable insights to help you navigate this complex area of criminal law.

Quick Summary

  • The sentence for negligent homicide can differ from state to state. However, it is generally considered a low to mid-level felony and comes with a prison term of several years.
  • A possible defense is claiming a lack of intent. This means that the defendant may argue that they were unaware of the risk they created or did not intentionally ignore it.
  • To prove criminal negligence, the prosecutor must show that the defendant acted recklessly, creating a high risk of great bodily injury or death. A reasonable person would’ve known that acting in such a way would create that risk.

What Is The Sentence For Negligent Homicide?

The sentence for negligent homicide varies by state, but it typically falls within the category of a low to mid-level felony, accompanied by several years in prison.a picture of a person holding a gavel on the table

Defendants may face fines, imprisonment, civil litigation, and collateral consequences upon conviction.

However, certain aggravating factors can lead to an extended prison sentence.

For instance, the use of a deadly weapon or the victim being a law enforcement officer might be considered.

A criminally negligent homicide is distinct from other homicide charges, such as murder or manslaughter, primarily because of the defendant’s intent or lack thereof [1].

In cases of criminally negligent homicide, the defendant’s inadvertent creation and subsequent disregard of a risk of harm led to the victim’s death.

This is different from murder, where the defendant intentionally causes the death of another person, or manslaughter, where the defendant recklessly causes the death of another person.

For example, criminally negligent homicide cases are charged as involuntary manslaughter in California [2].

But in Arizona, negligent homicide is considered a Class 4 felony conviction, which is one of three categories of felonies in the state:

  • non-dangerous felonies
  • dangerous felonies
  • crimes against children

If someone causes negligent homicide without using a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon, it is considered a non-dangerous felony.

The prison sentence is between 1 and 3 years and 9 months if convicted.

If someone causes a negligent homicide using a dangerous instrument or a deadly weapon, it is considered an inherently dangerous felony.

The punishment for a first-time offender can be between 4 to 8 years in prison. 

If you cause the death of another person due to your criminal negligence, you can face charges for aggravated criminally negligent homicide per New York Penal Law § 125.10 [3].

In New York,  criminally negligent homicide is considered a Class E felony with a potential prison sentence of 1 to 4 years upon conviction. If it is a second offense, the prison sentence can be between 3 and 4 years.

What Is A Negligent Homicide?

a photo of a crime scene of body on the floor and girl near himNegligent homicide is the death of a human being resulting from criminal negligence. It is considered to be a serious offense [4]. 

Criminal negligence refers to conduct demonstrating a lack of concern for an unreasonable and preventable danger to human life.

This type of behavior typically involves actions that any reasonable person would recognize as having a substantial and unjustifiable risk of causing serious injury or a person’s death.

To convict a person, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt each of these elements:

  • A person is deceased.
  • The defendant caused the death of the dead person.
  • In committing the act which caused the death, the defendant acted with criminal negligence.

Ala. Code 1975, § 13A-6-4 states that if the state’s evidence has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of these elements of criminally negligent homicide, then the defendant can be convicted of criminally negligent homicide [5].

“To be charged with negligent homicide means that killing another person was not intentional. Rather, it is through some form of “accident” that rises to the level of criminal liability.”
Shawn B. Hamp, President, and Lead Counsel for The Hamp Law Offices. 

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There are several common legal defenses for negligent homicide cases, which can be pivotal in securing a favorable outcome for the defendant.

Lack Of Intent

One such defense is the lack of intent, as the defendant may not have been aware of the unjustifiable risk they created or consciously disregarded it. In this case, the defense would argue that the defendant’s actions did not meet the criteria for criminal negligence.

Self Defense

Another potential defense is self-defense, where the defendant may argue that they were acting to protect themselves or another person from an imminent threat of harm. In such cases, the defense may argue that the defendant’s actions were justified under the circumstances and, therefore, they should not be held criminally liable for the victim’s death.


In this scenario, the defense would argue that the defendant was not in a sound state of mind at the time of the incident and could not have been aware of the risk they created. This defense requires substantial evidence, such as medical records or expert testimony, to support the claim of insanity.

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What Is The Statute Of Limitations For New York Criminally Negligent Homicide?

The statute of limitations for New York Criminally Negligent Homicide and Aggravated Criminally Negligent Homicide is 5 years. This means that any related charges must be prosecuted within this time frame.

Can The Statute Of Limitations Be Tolled For New York Criminally Negligent Homicide?

Yes, the statute of limitations is tolled for New York Criminally Negligent Homicide. The period can be suspended by the defendant’s absence from the jurisdiction or by suspending the Statute of Limitations.

What Defenses May Be Applicable In The Case Of New York Criminally Negligent Homicide?

The defenses applicable in the case of New York Criminally Negligent Homicide are contingent upon the facts.

Contact A Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one is facing a negligent homicide charge, it is imperative to consult with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. 

At Schmidt & Clark, LLP we have extensive experience in handling cases related to criminal negligence, including negligent homicide. Our team of experienced attorneys is committed to helping individuals navigate the complexities of the legal system and ensuring their rights are protected.



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