Parents will usually do anything to protect their children. Sometimes, though, accidents happen and a child dies. In many cases, California law enforcement clears a parent quickly even if it was his or her actions that ultimately led to the child’s death. However, there are some situations when a parent may end up under arrest and facing a murder charge.

Typically in such a case, the parent had no intent to harm the child, so the prosecutor may instead charge him or her with involuntary manslaughter or homicide. Here is look at what distinguishes this offense from other types of murder and homicide.

There was no intent

According to California Legislative Information, the involuntary part of this charge means that the parent did not mean to harm the child. He or she was negligent in some way and acted without caution, which led to the death. In a voluntary homicide, intent is present. The parent acted knowing that he or she might kill the child.

The actions at the time were not a felony

It is important that the parent was not committing a felony at the time the child died. Also, if the parent was doing something legal such as using a weapon, but using it in a way that breaks the law, then the charge would not fall into the category of involuntary manslaughter.

It did not involve a vehicle

A parent cannot have been driving at the time of the accident. If the action involved a vehicle, then it would probably result in a charge of vehicular manslaughter.

The death of a child is likely to be worse for parents who have charges against them for the incident. However, understanding the charges may help to better prepare for defending against them.