Homicide is an unlawful killing of a human being. Typically, all killings conducted by civilians are considered unlawful until a state prosecutor determines if criminal charges should be filed. An unlawful killing of a human being may be justified if the death occurred in the act of a person defending themselves or others. However, a killing is not justified even if it happens unintentionally if it is the result of negligence. In Nevada, a criminal homicide charge may result when a driver of a vessel has caused deaths by crowding their vessel.
According to Nevada law, a person operating, or navigating, a vessel can be charged with manslaughter when there are too many passengers on board and at least one passenger dies as a result. The person is guilty when they negligently or willfully receive too many passengers on the vessel that it:
- Is damaged
- Is overset
The passenger, or passengers, drowned or are otherwise killed.
Prosecutors have to prove the person:
- Navigated a vessel
- Negligently or willfully collected so many passengers or things on the vessel that it sinks, is damaged, or is overset
- Caused an individual to drown or otherwise be killed as a result
Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being done with no planning or deliberation.
In Nevada, there are two types of manslaughter charges: involuntary and voluntary manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter is a killing of a human that is done without any intent to kill, during a crime, or because of recklessness. Voluntary manslaughter is a killing of a human being done without premeditation, but as a result of provocation.
The penalty depends on whether the act was proven negligent or willful. If the overloading was willful, the crime is voluntary manslaughter punishable by about 20 years in prison and/or up to a $10,000 fine. If it was negligent, then the charge would be for involuntary manslaughter, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or up to a $5,000 fine.
Accidents happen, and one should not have to pay for an accident that they should not be held responsible for. Contact a Nevada attorney immediately if you have been charged with manslaughter as a result of an overloaded passenger vessel.