Last modified on February 19, 2015, at 14:21


Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of another without intent to kill; either voluntary (upon a sudden impulse); or involuntary (during the commission of an unlawful act not ordinarily expected to result in great bodily harm).

Manslaughter is a crime in which one individual kills another. In general, manslaughter is a subset of the crime of murder, in which the death was, in some way, accidental. Within the United States, states usually differentiate between voluntary manslaughter, in which harm was intended or dangerous actions were made without regard to consequences, but not killing; and involuntary manslaughter, in which no harm was intended, and no malicious act was done, but carelessness caused the death.

Each state in the United States defines manslaughter differently. In most states, if a the death occurred during the commission of a felony, then the death is considered first or second degree murder, rather than manslaughter.


  • Involuntary manslaughter
    • A driver does not see a stop sign, goes through the intersection, causes an accident in which someone dies. (Compare to first example of voluntary manslaughter.)
  • Voluntary manslaughter
    • A driver is driving 80 miles per hour, well above the speed limit, causes an accident and a death. Driving at high speed, or in a reckless manner, changes the charge to voluntary, as the driver was creating an unreasonable risk.