What is Manslaughter in Michigan?

Representing Clients In Macomb, Washtenaw, Wayne, Genesee County, and all over the State of Michigan.


Most people have a vague understanding of the difference between homicide and manslaughter. This is totally understandable. The legal difference between both charges is a bit hard to grasp at first glance. Both crimes though carry very heavy penalties. First, let’s look at the difference between homicide and manslaughter. 

What Michigan Law Says

The most difficult charge to distinguish between murder and manslaughter is that of voluntary manslaughter. Voluntary Manslaughter is the intentional killing of another person during the “heat of the moment.” How does this compare to a murder charge? First Degree Murder in Michigan is defined as the intentional and/or planned murder of another individual with a certain degree of malice or evil. So while Voluntary Manslaughter might be thought of as a killing in the heat of the moment without a calculated plan in place, First-Degree Murder is not done due to passion but due to a planned or calculated intent. The penalty for this charge is life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Michigan also has a charge called Felony Murder which is causing a death during the commission of a felony like arson, assault and battery, or kidnapping. 

Michigan also has another degree of homicide called Second-Degree Murder. This charge is very serious. A person convicted of this can face up to life in prison. This charge can be brought forth if a person is found to have killed someone if they had a “serious disregard for human life” during an act. This charge is an unplanned but intentional death. 

So we’ve covered First-Degree Murder, Second-Degree Murder, and Voluntary Manslaughter. But, what is Involuntary Manslaughter? This charge is usually brought forth when someone is killed due to “gross negligence.” To be charged with this crime a person must have killed someone but not intentionally. Even though the killing might not be intentional the person charged can be convicted if they intentionally intended to harm the victim. Malice is the variable which makes involuntary manslaughter different from murder. Malice can be simply thought of as the intent to kill or the intent to cause great bodily harm to a person. The person convicted of this crime can face up to 15 years in prison and thousands of dollars in restitution. 

Why you need an Attorney

As you might have gathered from reading this article, it’s safe to say that these charges are filled with complicated details. Every case is unique in its own way and getting the proper legal counsel to fight the charges brought against you is crucial. Ashlee Duplessis has years of experience dealing with serious charges like murder. If you or a loved one have been charged with murder or manslaughter contact us today.