Negligence is a form of carelessness that results in harm to another person. When this negligence rises to the level of criminal negligence, it becomes a criminal matter. Criminal negligence is a legal concept and a form of criminal liability in which the defendant has acted recklessly or carelessly and with disregard for the safety of others. It is an offense defined as a failure to exercise reasonable care while engaging in a potentially dangerous activity. In this blog, we'll discuss criminal negligence and what it takes to prove it. We'll also discuss the consequences of criminal negligence and the defenses available to those who are accused of it.

The Definition of Criminal Negligence

Criminal negligence is a form of criminal liability that is used to hold people accountable for the consequences of their careless or reckless actions. It is a form of reckless behavior that a person is guilty of if they fail to exercise the reasonable standard of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the same circumstances. In other words, criminal negligence is an act of carelessness or recklessness that results in injury or death to another person.

To establish criminal negligence, prosecutors must prove that the accused person acted with a conscious disregard for the safety of others and that their actions were the proximate cause of the injury or death. In other words, the accused must have acted with gross negligence—a higher standard of care than ordinary negligence. Criminal negligence can involve a wide range of actions, from failing to provide adequate medical care to failing to obey traffic laws.

Elements of Criminal Negligence

There are four elements of criminal negligence which include:

  • Duty of Care: The defendant must have had a duty of care to the victim. This means that the defendant had a responsibility to act reasonably and take reasonable precautions to prevent harm to the victim.
  • Breach of Duty: The defendant must have breached their duty of care by failing to exercise reasonable care. This means that the defendant did not act as a reasonable person would have acted in the same circumstances.
  • Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty must have been the cause of the injury or death to the victim.
  • Harm: The victim must have suffered an actual injury or death as a result of the defendant’s negligence.

Examples of Criminal Negligence

Criminal negligence can take many forms, including recklessly endangering someone’s safety, recklessly failing to provide for the safety of others, and recklessly failing to take reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable harm. Here are a few examples of criminal negligence.

Driving under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

When someone drives a vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol, they put themselves and others at risk of injury or death. Driving under the influence is illegal and can be prosecuted as a criminal act of negligence.

Failing to Secure a Swimming Pool

Failing to secure a swimming pool can lead to serious injury or even death. An unsecured swimming pool is an attractive nuisance and can be a dangerous hazard for children or anyone who enters the area. A person can be held criminally negligent if they fail to take the necessary steps to secure their swimming pool, such as fencing it in or having a lockable gate.

Failing to Provide Adequate Supervision

Failing to provide adequate supervision of a child or dependent can be considered criminal negligence. This is because it is a parent or caregiver’s responsibility to provide a safe environment for the people in their care. If an individual fails to provide adequate supervision and that lack of supervision leads to injury or death, they can be held criminally liable.

Leaving Dangerous Items Unattended

Leaving dangerous items such as firearms, knives, or hazardous chemicals unattended can be considered criminal negligence. This is because a reasonable person would not leave such items unsupervised and accessible to others. If a person leaves a dangerous item unattended and it leads to injury or death, they can be held criminally liable.

What are the Consequences of Criminal Negligence?

Depending on the circumstances, criminal negligence can lead to a variety of consequences such as:

Criminal negligence can result in criminal charges, fines, and imprisonment. The severity of the charge and the punishment depend on the degree of negligence and the level of harm caused. In some cases, criminal negligence can be classified as a felony and lead to a jail sentence of up to 15 years.

Criminal negligence can also lead to civil liability. In civil cases, the victims or their families can sue for damages. The damages can include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Criminal negligence can also lead to disciplinary action from professional licensing boards and organizations. If a professional is found to have acted negligently and caused harm, they may face sanctions such as suspension, revocation of their license, or a fine.

Criminal negligence can also have a significant social impact. The person charged with criminal negligence may be ostracized by their peers and community, and their reputation may be tarnished. This can have long-term effects on their career and social life.

Common Defense Strategies for Criminal Negligence

Several defense strategies can be used in a criminal negligence case. These strategies include:

Lack of Intent

The defense can use evidence to prove that the defendant did not act out of intentional malice or recklessness. This may include evidence showing that the defendant was unaware of the potential consequences of their actions or that they acted out of necessity or in an emergency.

Insufficient Evidence

If the defense can show that the prosecution’s evidence is not sufficient to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the charges may be reduced or dismissed. This may involve showing that the evidence is based on hearsay or circumstantial evidence, or that the evidence is not reliable enough to support a conviction.

Mistake of Facts

Mistake of facts can be used when an individual believes that their actions would not create an unreasonable risk of harm. For example, an individual may have acted in a manner that they believed to be safe but was dangerous.

Find a Bail Bonds Company Near Me

It is important to be aware of the legal standards of care that apply to everyone and to take reasonable care when engaging in activities that may cause harm to another. If you are arrested for this offense in the Las Vegas area, you can contact us at Express Bail Bonds right away. We offer bail bond services for arrestees so that they can have enough time to prepare for their defense while out of jail. Call us today at 702-633-2245