First-degree murder is the most notorious homicide offense on the books in Iowa, but it is not the only homicide offense. A previous post here discussed another homicide offense, that of second-degree murder. There is yet another homicide offense as well: involuntary manslaughter.
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Interestingly enough, there are two different kinds of involuntary manslaughter offenses in Iowa. Conviction of one kind of manslaughter will result in a felony-level sentence. Conviction of the other kind of manslaughter will result in a sentence at the aggravated misdemeanor level. More specifically, conviction of felony manslaughter results in a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine between $750 and $7,500. Conviction of aggravated misdemeanor manslaughter, on the other hand, results in a sentence of up to two years in prison and a fine between $625 and $6,250.
Under Iowa law, it is felony involuntary manslaughter for a person to kill another while committing a public offense other than a forcible felony. For example, it is common for a person to be charged with felony involuntary manslaughter if they are accused of killing another person while driving intoxicated on a public street.
As for aggravated misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter, charges could be filed in any situation in which a person is accused of performing an act that has a high probability of causing serious injury or death without intending death to occur. The difference between the two is that misdemeanor manslaughter is charged when the defendant is accused of committing an act that is unreasonably dangerous, but not a crime by itself.
Regardless of whether the crime alleged is a felony or an aggravated misdemeanor, a conviction for involuntary manslaughter could have serious repercussions for a person's future. A vigorous criminal defense could make the difference for defendants facing these charges.