On Thursday, it was announced that Alec Baldwin will be charged with involuntary manslaughter. According to The New York Times, when Baldwin filmed “Rust” in October 2021, he was given a gun with ammunition in it. The gun was fired and a cinematographer died on set.
Baldwin said he didn’t know that the gun had a live round in it and also didn’t intentionally fire the gun, per NPR. Charges will be filed later this month. Baldwin’s lawyer said in a statement that he plans on fighting the charges.
Here’s an explanation of what involuntary manslaughter is.
What is involuntary manslaughter?
Involuntary manslaughter is a legal term that refers to an unintentional homicide.
There are two types of involuntary manslaughter instances, according to legal database Justia. Recklessness and criminal negligence is one type of manslaughter and the other is misdemeanor manslaughter.
In the case of recklessness and criminal negligence, the prosecution needs to prove that the defendant acted recklessly or negligently. It means either that a defendant should have been more sensitive to a risk they were aware of or that a defendant reasonably should have been aware of a risk, per Justia. Failing to perform a particular action can also qualify as criminal negligence.
Misdemeanor manslaughter is another type of involuntary manslaughter. This type of involuntary manslaughter is the unintentional death of someone when a person is in the process of committing a misdemeanor, according to Justia. If a person is committing a felony as opposed to a misdemeanor, it’s possible that what’s called the felony-murder rule will kick in — this means that the person could be charged with murder.
According to NPR, the minimum sentence upon conviction is up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. If Baldwin is convicted, the charges would carry a firearm enhancement, which could increase the jail time to five years.