9 Reasons You Can End Up with a Manslaughter Charge

Posted on May 30, 2024

manslaughter defence lawyer

Manslaughter charges can be tricky to navigate. Because at its core manslaughter is not premeditated, you may not realize you're in the legal situation until you've been charged. According to Canadian Law, manslaughter occurs when death is the result of an unlawful act, where there is no active intention of causing death. This can be challenging to manage with your court-appointed legal representation. If you've been charged with manslaughter, book a legal consultation with one of the top defence lawyers in Toronto at Karrass Law for robust legal defence.

An unlawful act or criminal negligence can result in charges for many reasons. Here are some of the reasons you can end up being charged with manslaughter:

Vehicular Manslaughter

Strict guidelines and laws in Ontario and across Canada determine how and when you can operate your vehicle. For example, there are legal limits to the blood alcohol level which you're allowed to have while operating a motorized vehicle. If you've exceeded the legal blood alcohol level and end up driving a car that results in the death of another person, you may be charged with manslaughter. In this case, driving under the influence is the already illegal activity in which you engaged, which ultimately caused death. Other cases of vehicular manslaughter include speeding, stunt driving, or other unlawful instances of reckless driving that result in death. This applies to automobiles as well as boats.

Improper Storage of Firearms

While firearms are legal in some cases for licensed gun holders, there are many safety requirements you must follow legally to ensure you comply. So, even if you are licensed to own a firearm, a misstep or a failure to follow the required guidelines for owning and possessing a gun can create additional trouble is it leads to death. One issue you may see is improper storage of a firearm. If a gun is not stored securely and ends up in the hands of someone unauthorized, such as a child, the consequences can be tragic. For example, if a child finds an unsecured firearm and accidentally discharges it, causing the death of another person, the owner of the firearm can be charged with manslaughter. 

Drug Distribution

The illegal sale or distribution of drugs is another common scenario that can lead to manslaughter charges. If a person sells illegal drugs and the buyer overdoses, dying as a result, the seller can be held responsible for the death. The unlawful act of selling drugs, combined with the resulting fatality, is grounds for manslaughter charges. If you're facing drug charges along with manslaughter, it's in your best interest to seek legal advice from a reputable criminal defence lawyer. 

Assault Leading to Death

An assault that unintentionally leads to someone's death is also considered manslaughter. For instance, during a physical altercation, one person might deliver a blow that causes the other to fall and hit their head on a hard surface, resulting in death. Even though there was no intent to kill, the initial unlawful assault led to the fatal outcome.


Setting fire to a building, whether out of vandalism or for insurance fraud, can have deadly consequences. If the fire spreads and causes the death of an occupant, the person who set the fire can be charged with manslaughter. Some people may set fires for the purpose of vandalism or insurance fraud, but if a person is affected and loses their life as a result, the charges become more serious.

Child Endangerment

Leaving a child in a dangerous situation can result in tragic outcomes. For example, if a parent, caregiver, teacher, or medical professional leaves a young child unattended in an unsafe or hazardous situation, like near a swimming pool, they can be charged with manslaughter, especially when it is their responsibility to look after the child. The unlawful act of neglecting the child's safety can lead to criminal charges if it results in death. If you're a professional who has been charged with criminal negligence or manslaughter, get legal advice from the team at Karrass Law.

Illegal Fireworks

The use of illegal fireworks in residential or crowded areas is hazardous. If someone sets off fireworks illegally, causing a fire or explosion that leads to someone's death, they can be charged with manslaughter. The act of using illegal fireworks is inherently risky and unlawful, making the resulting death grounds for serious legal consequences.

Workplace Safety Violations

In Ontario, employers are legally obligated to ensure safe working conditions, and employees have the right to refuse unsafe work. If an employer knowingly ignores safety regulations, leading to unsafe working conditions that result in an employee's death, the employer can be charged with manslaughter. This can look like failing to provide proper safety equipment or improper training can lead to fatal workplace accidents.

Landlord Building Code Violations

Landlords and property owners are required to adhere to building codes to ensure the safety of occupants and tenants. If you're a landlord or property manager who has failed to install smoke detectors or maintain fire escapes, and a fire that results in the death of an occupant can result in manslaughter charges due to negligence. 

Fight Manslaughter Charges with a Criminal Defence Lawyer

Manslaughter charges are serious and complex, often requiring expert insights and an experienced criminal defence lawyer. If you find yourself faced with manslaughter charges, it's crucial to seek professional legal representation. At Karrass Law, our top defence lawyers in Toronto are dedicated to providing strong representation that is designed to get you the best possible outcome. Robert Karrass and our team of talented legal professionals are here to represent you.

To learn more about how we can help you, book a consultation. 

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