Negligent homicide

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Negligent homicide is a criminal offense in the field of homicides ( crimes resulting in death) in connection with negligence (lack of prudence and care) and is thus in clear contrast to intentional homicides. It is punished differently in different states.

Situation in Germany

The negligent homicide is a crime that according to § 222 of the Criminal Code with a fine or imprisonment will be punished up to five years. The negligent homicide is to be counted as homicide in the narrower sense.

The corresponding legal norm is:

Section 222 Negligent homicide
Anyone who causes the death of a person through negligence is punished with imprisonment for up to five years or with a fine.

The negligent homicide is considered to be the classic offense of negligence. The criminological significance of negligent homicide is rather minor, since it is primarily a consequence of traffic accidents . In the case of traffic accidents in particular, it is necessary to check whether the actual killing would also have occurred if the perpetrator had acted as an alternative, since in this case his criminal liability is no longer applicable.

The problem with all offenses of negligence is the assessment of the perpetrator's standard of care. It must always be considered whether the breach of duty of care is still attributable to the perpetrator in order to establish criminal liability. If the negligent homicide occurs in connection with another criminal offense, such as bodily harm , robbery , rape , sexual coercion or certain other committing crimes , it must be checked whether the risk connection between the previous intentional offense and the negligent homicide is not A successful offense was committed, which has an increased range of punishments as a legal consequence .

Situation in Austria

In Austria, negligent homicide is regulated in Section 80 of the Criminal Code. Section 80 of the Criminal Code is a success-causing offense and protects life, but not the fruit of the womb . It is a crime that must be distinguished from murder and manslaughter and describes an act with direct fatality without intent. The penalty here is one year imprisonment .

In addition, there is the qualified offense of grossly negligent homicide (until 2016 negligent homicide under particularly dangerous circumstances ) ( § 81 StGB) with an increased penalty (up to 3 years). The term describes that increased caution is required in recognizable dangerous conditions, so negligence is more important. In particular, this term includes the context of “consumption of alcohol or the use of another intoxicating substance”, which has an effect on the sanity , although the perpetrator was or could have been aware that this increases the risks of upcoming activities (paragraph 1, point 2), whereby negligence and insanity in connection with drug use have a fundamentally different quality. This regulation is relevant, for example, in traffic accidents in connection with alcohol abuse and excessive speed due to a lack of self-control.

In addition, there is also the regulation on “leading dangerous animals” (Paragraph 1, Line 3), which specifically - but not exclusively - relates to the subject of fighting dogs . In addition, this passage has also been extended to the professional environment with Paragraph 2 of the paragraph.

Situation in Switzerland

In Switzerland, negligent homicide is regulated in Art. 117 StGB . There it says: "Anyone who negligently causes the death of a person is punished with imprisonment of up to three years or a fine." (As of January 1, 2021).

Individual evidence

  1. Negligent homicide . ( [accessed August 9, 2021]).
  2. ADVOKAT Unternehmensberatung: § 80 StGB (Criminal Code), negligent homicide - JUSLINE Austria. Retrieved August 9, 2021 .
  3. SWISSRIGHTS: StGB Art. 117. Accessed on August 9, 2021 .