Manslaughter is a lesser crime than murder. Like murder, there are multiple forms that a person can be charged with. The first type is voluntary manslaughter. The second is involuntary manslaughter.
Involuntary manslaughter is the type of manslaughter which usually refers to an unintentional killing that is a result of recklessness or criminal negligence. It can also be the charge for a death that results from an unlawful act that is a misdemeanor or a low-level felony. Involuntary manslaughter is most easily distinguished from voluntary manslaughter in that the victim’s death is completely unintended in this case whereas it is intended in voluntary manslaughter.
This type of crime typically occurs in one of two situations. The first situation is when someone is killed due to criminal negligence. This means that a person is killed accidentally when someone behaves in a way that is so negligent that the act becomes criminal.
The second situation in which involuntary manslaughter can result is when someone is killed during the commission of another crime, where the intent was not to cause bodily injury or death. This type of involuntary manslaughter is better known as the misdemeanor manslaughter rule. Basically, if a person commits a misdemeanor crime, like stealing a small object from a dollar store, and someone falls down the stairs and dies while trying to regain that small item, the person might be charged with misdemeanor manslaughter. This is true even though the death was an accident and not intended by the thief.