Culpable negligence is an offense that stems from failure to exercise the caution of a reasonable person. An individual may be accused of this offense if she engages in reckless actions that could harm others. An individual may also be accused of this offense if she fails to do something and as a result it puts others at risk. Most forms of negligence are civil matters, but in this instance, the offense is so extremely reckless that it is a crime, explaining why this offense is also commonly referred to as criminal negligence.
To be found guilty of many crimes, it must be shown that a person had the intent to commit the violation. Culpable negligence is not one of them. Accidents happen, and people make careless mistakes all of the time. These matters are usually handled civilly by forcing the guilty parties to pay damages to those who are injured. Culpable negligence arises when an accident or mistake is so reckless that the lack of caution or the disregard for consequences is punished with a criminal penalty.
Culpable negligence is a crime that is generally based on the reasonable person standard. This means that when a potentially criminal act is committed, the court will consider whether a reasonable person would have acted in the same manner. If the answer is yes, then most likely the accused will be found not guilty.
For example, a case may involve an individual who accidentally shoots someone. The shooting may have occurred when the gun owner was trying to dislodge a jammed bullet. He may have had the barrel aimed toward a household member and may have fired the weapon without the intention of doing so. It is likely to be found that most people would have exercised a higher degree of caution by making sure that the gun was aimed away from everyone in the room.
It is important to note that a person does not have to get injured for the accused to be convicted of culpable negligence. To be found guilty, a person merely has to create a risk of harm for another individual. In some jurisdictions, if a victim is actually injured, the crime intensifies and the punishment may be harsher. The manner in which culpable negligence is handled depends on the jurisdiction. In some instances, this crime may be a misdemeanor, and in others it may be a felony.