Criminal Negligence

Definition - What does Criminal Negligence mean?

Criminal negligence is considered more culpable than ordinary, tortious negligence.

Negligence is generally defined as failing to act with reasonable care to protect foreseeable plaintiffs from harm. While ordinary negligence exposes a defendant to financial liability for the injuries that the defendant’s actions or omissions caused, criminal negligence exposes a defendant to financial liability as well as incarceration.

Justipedia explains Criminal Negligence

The overwhelming majority of negligence claims are handled in civil court under theories of tort law. But, there are some cases of negligence considered so egregious that many jurisdictions have codified criminal negligence laws to punish negligent actors who act with recklessness or wanton disregard for others.

In modern times, criminal negligence laws often involve the operation of motor vehicles or industrial machinery by an intoxicated person. Another common case involves the negligent handling of firearms.

Where many criminal infractions involve an element of intent, a prosecutor attempting to prove criminal negligence only has to prove a failure to act with reasonable care.

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