Manslaughter Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Manslaughter, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Manslaughter?

(n) Manslaughter is the killing or cause to death of a person without a pre-meditation or intention to kill or cause death, whether voluntarily or otherwise. In Man slaughter there is no intention or pre-plan to kill but killing or death occurred due to an impulsive act or a careless act. Eg. 1) Killing wife out of a sudden rage when she was found compromising with a stranger . 2) Killing the passengers by reckless driving

History and Meaning of Manslaughter

Manslaughter is a legal term used to describe a crime in which one person kills another person without premeditation or intention to do so. The key difference between manslaughter and murder is the absence of intent. In manslaughter cases, the defendant may have caused the death of another person, but they did not plan or intend to do so. This crime has existed for many centuries, and different societies have treated it very differently over time.

Early European societies relied on a system of compensation to deal with manslaughter cases. If a person killed another person accidentally, they could compensate the victim's family by paying a certain amount of money or property. In some cases, the offender would also lose their own land or property as part of the compensation process. In modern times, the definition and punishment of manslaughter varies widely depending on the jurisdiction.

Examples of Manslaughter

  1. A construction worker accidentally drops a brick from a rooftop, hitting and killing a pedestrian below. This act would likely be considered involuntary manslaughter.
  2. A person drives a car while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, causing an accident that kills another person. This would be considered voluntary manslaughter.
  3. A parent leaves a loaded gun in a place accessible to a child, and the child accidentally shoots and kills another person. This would likely be considered involuntary manslaughter as the parent acted with negligence.

Legal Terms Similar to Manslaughter

  1. Murder - Murder is a similar crime to manslaughter, but it involves the premeditated and intentional killing of another person.
  2. Negligent Homicide - Negligent homicide occurs when an individual's reckless behavior leads to the death of another person.
  3. Vehicular Homicide - Vehicular homicide is a term used to describe the killing of another person while operating a vehicle. This can be charged as manslaughter if the driver did not have the intent to cause harm.