Negligent Homicide

Negligent Homicide in Baton Rouge, Gonzales, Prairieville, Livingston Parish, Assumption Parish, Zachary, LA & Beyond

Negligent homicide in Louisiana is charged in certain circumstances, under La. R. S. 14:32. It includes killing of a human being by criminal negligence and the killing of a human being by a dog or other animal when the owner is reckless.

A criminal defense trial for negligent homicide is procedurally like any other serious felony, in that it is a very serious charge that takes a tremendous effort and skill level to properly defend.

It is important to note here that there is a difference between what the police charge and what the District Attorney charges. The police arrest people on charges that they determine are the most appropriate under the circumstances. Police officers are not attorneys. The District Attorney will normally take the evidence of arrest and investigation and make a determination as to the proper charge, or the charge that the DA feels he/she can prove at a trial on the matter. What a police officer perceives and what can be proven at trial are often times very different.

This is obviously a very serious charge and requires a very serious criminal defense. This crime is charged most often in the circumstance of criminal negligence., defined at La. R.S. 14:12, as “Criminal negligence exists when, although neither specific nor general criminal intent is present, there is such disregard of the interest of others that the offender's conduct amounts to a gross deviation below the standard of care expected to be maintained by a reasonably careful man under like circumstances.”

And here begins the use of very specific terms, defined by the Louisiana Courts, such as ‘general intent', ‘specific intent', ‘gross deviation', etc… It is without question that you need a criminal defense attorney to closely examine the facts of your case and determine how these legal concepts relate to the evidence in your case. It is essential that you hire someone that has experience with these kinds of charges and someone how has courtroom experience, in terms of challenging these charges and getting the best outcome possible. Do not hire your divorce lawyer, or the tax lawyer your friend knows real well – this kind of charge takes a skilled criminal defense lawyer that has experience taking these matters to trial. We have extensive trial experience, specifically with homicide cases, and can and will take these cases to jury trial.

It is important to note that the person charged with negligent homicide may not have any intent, general or specific, to cause harm, but may have simply had a disregard for the probable, or even possible, consequences of his/her act. And after what many would consider an ‘accident', faces very serious criminal liability. The law requires more than an accident to convict for negligent homicide, it requires a gross deviation below the standard of care, which is not simply an accident.

If you, or someone you know, has been charged with negligent homicide, hire a skilled criminal defense attorney immediately. Call The Ambeau Law Firm and we will talk honestly about the road ahead and what kind of effort and resources it takes to fight these charges. If we decide to fight this matter together, we will start the fight from the first day, and work diligently to get you the best outcome possible in your criminal defense matter.

La. R. S. 14:32. Negligent Homicide

A. Negligent homicide is either of the following:

(1) The killing of a human being by criminal negligence.

(2) The killing of a human being by a dog or other animal when the owner is reckless and criminally negligent in confining or restraining the dog or other animal.

B. The violation of a statute or ordinance shall be considered only as presumptive evidence of such negligence.

C. (1) Except as provided for in Paragraph (2) of this Subsection, whoever commits the crime of negligent homicide shall be imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than five years, fined not more than five thousand dollars, or both.

(2)(a) If the victim killed was under the age of ten years, the offender shall be imprisoned at hard labor, without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence, for not less than two nor more than five years.

(b) If the court does not order the offender to a term of imprisonment when the following two factors are established, the court shall state, both orally and in writing at the time of sentencing, the reasons for not sentencing the offender to a term of imprisonment:

(i) The fatality was caused by a person engaged in the operation of, or in actual physical control of, any motor vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, or other means of conveyance; and

(ii) The offender's blood alcohol concentration contributed to the fatality.

(3) If the victim was killed by a dog or other animal, the owner of the dog or other animal shall be imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than five years or fined not more than five thousand dollars, or both.

D. The provisions of this Section shall not apply to:

(1) Any dog which is owned, or the service of which is employed, by any state or local law enforcement agency for the principal purpose of aiding in the detection of criminal activity, enforcement of laws, or apprehension of offenders.

(2) Any dog trained in accordance with the standards of a national or regional search and rescue association to respond to instructions from its handler in the search and rescue of lost or missing individuals and which dog, together with its handler, is prepared to render search and rescue services at the request of law enforcement.

(3) Any guide or service dog trained at a qualified dog guide or service school who is accompanying any blind person, visually impaired person, person who is deaf or hard of hearing, or person with any other physical disability who is using the dog as a guide or for service.

(4) Any attack made by a dog lawfully inside a dwelling, a place of business, or a motor vehicle as defined in R.S. 32:1(40), against a person who is attempting to make an unlawful entry into the dwelling, place of business, or motor vehicle, or who has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling, place of business, or motor vehicle, and the dog is protecting that property.

(5) Any attack made by livestock as defined in this Section.

E. For the purposes of this Section:

(1) “Harboring or keeping” means feeding, sheltering, or having custody over the animal for three or more consecutive days.

(2) “Livestock” means any animal except dogs and cats, bred, kept, maintained, raised, or used for profit, that is used in agriculture, aquaculture, agritourism, competition, recreation, or silvaculture, or for other related purposes or used in the production of crops, animals, or plant or animal products for market. This definition includes but is not limited to cattle, buffalo, bison, oxen, and other bovine; horses, mules, donkeys, and other equine; goats; sheep; swine; chickens, turkeys, and other poultry; domestic rabbits; imported exotic deer and antelope, elk, farm-raised white-tailed deer, farm-raised ratites, and other farm-raised exotic animals; fish, pet turtles, and other animals identified with aquaculture which are located in artificial reservoirs or enclosures that are both on privately owned property and constructed so as to prevent, at all times, the ingress and egress of fish life from public waters; any commercial crawfish from any crawfish pond; and any hybrid, mixture, or mutation of any such animal.

(3) “Owner” means any person, partnership, corporation, or other legal entity owning, harboring, or keeping any animal.


Disclaimer: These codes may not be the most recent version. The Legislature of the State of Louisiana may have more current or accurate information. The Ambeau Law Firm makes no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the information contained on this page – please consult your attorney and/or check official sources.