Unlike murder and voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter ordinarily is an unintentional killing. The death results from the person’s criminal negligence, rather than from any intent to kill the victim. For example, if a driver speeding down a residential street loses control of the car and runs over and kills a child playing on the sidewalk, that is involuntary manslaughter.
A drunk driver who cases an accident resulting in the death of a person in another car or a pedestrian traditionally has been held guilty of involuntary manslaughter. But some courts have held that when an intoxicated person takes control of an automobile- in affect, a dangerous weapon—he or she acts with reckless disregard for the safety of others and can therefore be held liable for voluntary manslaughter or even second-degree murder.