How to Win a PC 192(b) Case

Aaron Spolin

Award-winning involuntary manslaughter defense attorney Aaron Spolin uses effective strategies to achieve success for clients who want to move past their charges.

Winning a Penal Code (PC) 192(b) case in California requires your attorney to understand the law and use the facts of your case to your benefit. One of California’s top criminal defense attorneys, Aaron Spolin, explains how he wins cases: “We use three strategies: (1) submit legal motions; (2) use the evidence to benefit your case; and (3) develop strong defenses.” These strategies have been used repeatedly by Mr. Spolin and his team to win cases. (Every case is unique, and prior success is not a “guarantee” of the same outcome in a future case.)

Mr. Spolin explains how his strategies work:

  1. Submit Legal “Motions”: A “motion” is a request to the court, often to have the entire case dismissed or specific evidence excluded. However, motions can request many things. They are based on information gathered during the discovery process and supported by the law.
  2. Use Evidence to Benefit Your Case: Evidence will be collected before, during, and after your arrest. We will ensure we have all of it and use it to benefit your case. The best criminal defense attorneys can use the prosecutor’s own evidence against them. That may even mean having it thrown out if it was gathered incorrectly.
  3. Develop Strong Defenses: In an involuntary manslaughter trial, the jury will decide if you’re guilty or not. The prosecution has the burden of proving “beyond a reasonable doubt” that you are guilty. Thus, your attorney does not have to prove your innocence — just that there is reasonable doubt that you did not commit the crime. Carefully developed defenses can strengthen your chance of getting a not guilty verdict.

To learn more about how these strategies might apply to your case, call the involuntary manslaughter law firm of Spolin Law P.C. at (310) 424-5816.

  1. How to Win a PC 192(b) Case
  2. What Is Involuntary Manslaughter Under PC 192(b)?
  3. Defenses to Involuntary Manslaughter Charges
  4. Learn About the Leading PC 192(b) Attorneys

What Is Involuntary Manslaughter Under PC 192(b)?

What Is Involuntary Manslaughter? Picture of someone standing with their hands held out as if not knowing what they’ve done, or someone with a questioning look on their face

Unlike many other homicide crimes, involuntary manslaughter does not require intent. Spolin Law P.C. lawyers will evaluate the elements of this crime and determine what does or does not apply to your case.

Involuntary manslaughter is the unintentional killing of another person while committing either a crime (typically a misdemeanor) that is not an inherently dangerous felony or a lawful act that might produce death.

The specific elements include:

  1. You caused another person’s death.
  2. You committed an infraction, or a California misdemeanor, that is not a dangerous felony, OR a lawful act done in an unlawful manner.
  3. You committed the crime or act with “criminal negligence.”

Unlike many other murder-type crimes, involuntary manslaughter does not require intent to kill another person. Further, PC 192b does not include actions involving a car, as those are handled under California’s vehicular manslaughter laws.

What Is Criminal Negligence?

Criminal negligence is more than ordinary carelessness, inattention, or mistake in judgement. It occurs when someone acts recklessly that creates a high risk of death or great bodily injury and a reasonable person should have known that such an act would create such a risk.

Involuntary Manslaughter Based on Legal Duty

Another way that a person can be charged with involuntary manslaughter is if they fail to perform a legal duty to another person. In this type of involuntary manslaughter, the prosecutor must show the following:

  1. The defendant had a legal duty to the victim;
  2. The defendant failed to perform that legal duty;
  3. The failure was criminally negligent; and
  4. The failure to perform the duty caused the victim’s death.

Relationships that may give rise to such a legal duty include a parent-child relationship, a paid caretaker relationship, and a relationship between two people where one has an “assumed responsibility.”

Examples of Involuntary Manslaughter

Perhaps the most famous example of involuntary manslaughter in California was Dr. Conrad Murphy. He was found guilty of causing the death of pop star Michael Jackson by prescribing him excessive surgical anesthetic. Dr. Murphy received four years in jail, the maximum penalty for involuntary manslaughter.

Another, more common example, would be if a farmer forces workers to pick crops in excessive heat with few breaks, no shade, and lack of water. If one of them collapses and dies of a heatstroke, the farmer may be held accountable for involuntary manslaughter.

Penalties for Involuntary Manslaughter

As a felony, involuntary manslaughter can result in incarceration, fines, formal probation, removal of gun rights, and other penalties under California laws. Depending on the specific details of the case, it can lead to two, three, or four years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Additionally, if you accidentally kill someone with a firearm or other “dangerous or deadly weapon” and are found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, you will get a “strike” against California’s “three strikes law.” This law can result in life in prison as an ultimate penalty.

Civil Lawsuits for Involuntary Manslaughter

The family of the victim in an involuntary manslaughter case may also opt to file a civil lawsuit, or wrongful death case, against the defendant. Even if the defendant was not found guilty in criminal court, it’s possible to be held accountable in civil court because the standards are different. These civil judgments are often very large when they are successful.

  1. How to Win a PC 192(b) Case
  2. What Is Involuntary Manslaughter Under PC 192(b)?
  3. Defenses to Involuntary Manslaughter Charges
  4. Learn About the Leading PC 192(b) Attorneys

Defenses to Involuntary Manslaughter Charges

Defenses section: Someone defending themselves in a self-defense situation.

The involuntary manslaughter lawyers at Spolin Law P.C. will evaluate the facts of your case and develop as many strong defenses as possible, including self-defense and others.

Although involuntary manslaughter may not lead to decades in prison, it is still a homicide crime and can be punished harshly. It is worth fighting if you’re facing an involuntary manslaughter charge.

Some common defenses that we use in PC 192(b) cases include the following.

Self Defense/Defense of Others

According to California law, you are permitted to use force in self-defense or defense against others if you reasonably believe you are in imminent danger of physical harm. However, you may only use the degree of force that is reasonably necessary under the circumstances. For example, if someone was running at you with a knife, you have a right to pick up a weapon and defend yourself. We will evaluate the specific situation of your case and determine if it fits the facts.

The Killing Was an Accident

In some ways, all involuntary manslaughter cases are accidents because they involve situations where the offender did not intend to kill the victim. However, if there was no wrongdoing and no one acted with “criminal negligence,” then the defendant should not be found guilty.

If you can show (1) you had no criminal intent to do harm, (2) you were not acting with criminal negligence, and (3) you were not otherwise engaged in criminal activity, then your charges may be dropped altogether.

Insufficient Evidence to Convict

Sometimes the police and investigators try to present an “open and shut” case of involuntary manslaughter. However, a good California criminal defense lawyer can conduct their own investigation and uncover what really happened. If there is not enough evidence to support the charges, the prosecutor may drop them.

False Accusation or Wrongful Arrest

Whether it is a case of mistaken identity, or someone is trying to falsely blame the accused, there are situations where wrongful arrests are made. It’s important that a complete investigation takes place so the jury hears the real story about what happened. Sometimes when the information is gathered, the prosecutor realizes they don’t have enough evidence to support the case and it is dropped.

  1. How to Win a PC 192(b) Case
  2. What Is Involuntary Manslaughter Under PC 192(b)?
  3. Defenses to Involuntary Manslaughter Charges
  4. Learn About the Leading PC 192(b) Attorneys

Learn About the Leading PC 192(b) Attorneys

When dealing with a PC 192(b) case, you are facing serious charges that will impact every area of your life. They can result in time in jail and a life-long stigma with family, friends, and the community.

Spolin Law P.C.’s involuntary manslaughter attorneys have a record of successful outcomes. We win cases because:

  • We know the legal process. We utilize the pre-trial motion process to get cases dismissed whenever possible and exclude key evidence to have charges dismissed. Although it is not possible in every case, it is our goal in every case to have charges reduced or thrown out.
  • We know the law. Attorney Aaron Spolin (Princeton, BA; UC Berkeley, JD) went to top-tier schools to get an education focused on understanding laws like California’s involuntary manslaughter statute. Our legal team knows how to apply the elements to your individual case and develop arguments to support your defense.
  • We are qualified to handle your case. We have handled many violent crime cases for clients who needed someone to step in during a desperate situation. We know this is one of the most stressful times of your life. We will use our education, experience, and skills to address all of the needs in your case and carry it through an acceptable plea agreement or jury trial.

If you have questions about your case, contact Spolin Law P.C. at (310) 424-5816. Our involuntary manslaughter attorneys are here to jump into your case and immediately begin working on a plan for you.