The term “criminal negligence” refers to gross negligence that is so extreme that it is punishable as a crime — e.g., involuntary manslaughter.

“Though the legislatures and the courts have often made it clear that criminal liability generally requires more fault than the ordinary negligence which will do for tort liability, they have not so often made it plain just what is required in addition to tort negligence — greater risk, subjective awareness of the risk, or both. Statutes are sometimes worded in terms of ‘gross negligence’ or ‘culpable negligence’ or ‘criminal negligence,’ without any further definition of these terms . . . The courts thus have had to do their best with little guidance from the legislature, with varying results.” Wayne R. LaFave & Austin W. Scott, Jr., Criminal Law § 3.7, at 235-37 (2d ed. 1986).

“Negligence of such a character, or occurring under such circumstances, as to be punishable as a crime by statute; or (at common law) such as flagrant and reckless disregard of the safety of others, or willful indifference to the injury liable to follow, as to convert an act otherwise lawful into a crime when it results in personal injury or death.” Cook v. Railroad Co., 72 Ga. 48.

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