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Manslaughter is the act of killing another human being without malice. It is a general intent crime that is distinct from murder because it requires less culpability. See Homicide.

Under both the common law and the Pennsylvania Method of differentiating degrees of murder, manslaughter was divided into voluntary and involuntary manslaughter:

  • Voluntary manslaughter is intentionally killing another person in the heat of passion and in response to adequate provocation.
  • Involuntary manslaughter is negligently causing the death of another person.

Under the Model Penal Code § 210.3, manslaughter includes:

  • Reckless homicide
  • Homicide that would be murder, but "is committed under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance for which there is reasonable explanation or excuse."

Different states may have differing degrees of manslaughter based on their criminal statutes.

[Last updated in July of 2023 by the Wex Definitions Team]