Cause the death of another person through reckless conduct or the commission of another crime but without intent to kill, carries a lighter penalty than most other forms of homicide. However, the guidelines for determining the sentence for involuntary manslaughter differ between the various judicial systems of the state. Manslaughter, both the federal and state level, is considered a felony and usually carries a penalty of jail or prison for at least 12 months, in addition to fines and probation.
The minimum sentence for involuntary manslaughter under federal guidelines for the fixing sentences is a prison sentence of 10 to 16 months, which is aggravated if it was committed through an act of reckless conduct. The minimum sentence for involuntary manslaughter committed with an automobile is higher still, although judges have a certain margin of discretion.
While states are likely to follow the example of the federal courts in the development of its own guidelines for setting the sentences, the states differ widely on this topic. The states generally stipulate a range of possible penalties and allow judges the discretion to determine what sentence to impose. In making their decision, the judges take into account aggravating factors and mitigating circumstances to decide how hard it will be your opinion. The aggravating factors are those that increase the severity of the offence and include such things as the history of imprudent behavior of the defendant. Mitigating factors tend to decrease the penalty, and, in general, involve such factors as the acceptance by the defendant of the responsibility for the crime and the lack of a criminal record.
Two examples illustrate the difference in sentences between different jurisdictions. The ex-officer of police Johannes Mehserle, who was convicted of manslaughter following a fist by accident his gun instead of his stun gun and shoot fatally an unarmed man, received a prison sentence of two years in California in 2010. The state guidelines for setting judgments dictate a sentence of two to four years. Tommy Morgan, a member of the nation of Navajo reside in New Mexico, was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 12 months and three years of probation by a federal court after being convicted in 2011 of killing a man while driving a car under the influence of alcohol.