There are two main types of negligence, namely civil negligence and criminal negligence. Civil negligence is also sometimes referred to as “ordinary” negligence and it refers to situations where someone gets injured because of another person’s carelessness. A person is considered civilly negligent when their conduct falls short of what a “reasonable and prudent person” (essentially an average person) would have done in the same or similar situation.
However, criminal negligence occurs when an individual’s conduct is an extreme departure from the way a reasonable person would have acted in the same or similar situation. Criminal negligence also requires a higher degree of responsibility compared to civil negligence and in order for a prosecutor to convict someone of criminal negligence, it is necessary to prove all of the specific elements.
In a criminal negligence case, the prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. “Beyond a reasonable doubt" is the highest standard of proof and it means that the evidence is so strong that there is no logical explanation other than the fact that the defendant was criminally negligent.
A prosecutor can convict someone of criminal negligence only if they had a legal duty to act. So there can’t be criminal negligence if there is no legal duty. Mistakes and accidents are not considered criminal negligence because a criminally negligent act requires more than a mere mistake in judgment, inattention, or simple carelessness.
Criminal negligence only refers to conduct that is so outrageous and reckless that it is a major departure from the way an ordinary and careful person would have acted in similar circumstances.
The specific defenses which are available depend on the exact facts of your situation. Some major defenses which are available to defendants include:
Criminal negligence laws can be difficult to understand and there may be some differences in terms of how each state defines criminal negligence. In this context, it will be beneficial to contact and consult with a local criminal defense attorney before proceeding.
Last Modified: 01-23-2018 03:06 PM PSTLaw Library Disclaimer
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