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Manslaughter Definitions & Sentences in Michigan

Manslaughter sentences in Michigan include up to 15 years in jail. Causing death as a result of texting and driving, as represented here, may be considered vehicular manslaughter.

Posted 7 months ago by Lena


More than 11,000 people were arrested for murder and nonnegligent manslaughter in 2019, yet many people might not realize how manslaughter is defined or the sentences it carries in Michigan.

Is manslaughter accidental or intentional, for instance, and what does a prosecutor have to do to prove manslaughter?

Following are basic facts about manslaughter, as well as potential manslaughter sentences in Michigan.

What is Manslaughter?

Manslaughter is the crime of killing a human being without “malice aforethought,” which is described as the intent to seriously harm or kill. It also would not involve an extreme, reckless disregard for life. Clearly, proving this can be challenging, but proof hinders on “moral blame,” state of mind, intent, and the timeframe in the moments before the death. 

There are three types of manslaughter: voluntary, involuntary, and vehicular.

The amount of negligence is among the deciding factors in vehicular manslaughter cases. Examples of vehicular manslaughter include the death of an individual due to:

  • Drugged driving
  • Drunken driving
  • Texting and driving
  • Extreme speeding or similar driving offense

Examples of involuntary manslaughter include unintentionally killing someone due to:

  • Accidentally discharging a firearm, especially during an argument
  • Improperly prescribing or providing medication, which may apply to doctors and pharmacists
  • Practicing medicine without a license
  • Forcing employees to work in unnecessarily dangerous situations
  • Failing to control a dog that has a history of attacking humans
  • Criminal negligence, which may apply to caretakers

Voluntary manslaughter is deliberate but not planned. “Provocation” tends to be a factor in the difference between voluntary manslaughter and murder.  Examples of voluntary manslaughter include a death as a result of:

Possible Sentences for Manslaughter in Michigan and How to Get Help

In Michigan, manslaughter is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of $7,500. However, there may be some exceptions depending on the type of crime that was committed. It is considered a Class C felony, a category that also includes robbery and human trafficking that results in injury.

If someone you know has been arrested for any of these crimes, it’s imperative to find a qualified attorney to help you. In the meantime, if you need help getting a loved one out of jail until hearing dates, contact us at Detroit Bail Bonds. We can help answer many of your questions about next steps in regard to the bail bond process in Michigan.

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