Manslaughter Law and Legal Definition

The unlawful killing of a human being without the malicious intent or premeditation, either express or implied, required for murder. Manslaughter is a reckless killing or one done in the heat of the moment. The cases of manslaughter may be classified as those killings resulting from: 1. Provocation. 2. Mutual combat. 3. Resistance to public officers, etc. 4. Killing in the prosecution of an unlawful or wanton act. 5. Killing in the prosecution of a lawful act, improperly performed, or performed without lawful authority.

There are two categories of manslaughter: voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter includes killing in heat of passion or while committing a felony. Involuntary manslaughter occurs when a death is caused during the comission of a non-felony, such as reckless driving (called "vehicular manslaughter").

The following is an example of a state statute dealing with manslaughter:
"§ 2903.03. Voluntary manslaughter.

(A) No person, while under the influence of sudden passion or in a sudden fit of rage, either of which is brought on by serious provocation occasioned by the victim that is reasonably sufficient to incite the person into using deadly force, shall knowingly cause the death of another or the unlawful termination of another's pregnancy.

(B) Whoever violates this section is guilty of voluntary manslaughter, a felony of the first degree."