Manslaughter - Voluntary

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Voluntary manslaughter is an act of murder that is reduced to manslaughter because of extenuating circumstances.[1] This charge is also known as manslaughter in the first degree, unintentional murder, or intentional manslaughter.

Model Penal Code

Under the Model Penal Code section 210.3, voluntary manslaughter is homicide which would otherwise be murder that is committed under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance for which there is reasonable explanation or excuse. The Code uses a reasonable person standard to determine the validity of the alleged explanation or excuse. Voluntary manslaughter, like involuntary manslaughter, is a second degree felony.[2]

Variation by Jurisdiction

New York

The New York Penal Code addresses voluntary manslaughter under the heading of manslaughter in the first degree. There are four ways that a person can commit voluntary manslaughter. First, an individual, with only the intent to cause serious physical injury to another, can cause the death of that other person.[3] A person can also be guilty of first degree manslaughter when, with intent to cause the death of another person, he causes the death of such person or of a third person under mitigating circumstances (i.e. extreme emotional disturbance).[4] An abortion after 24 weeks that results in the death of the mother can be a form of manslaughter in the first degree.[5] And finally recklessly endangering a minor under the age of 11, which results in the death of the child, is manslaughter.[6] Manslaughter in the first degree is a class B felony.

See Crimes


  1. Black's Law Dictionary, 9th Edition (2009)
  2. Model Penal Code, § 210.3 (2001)
  3. New York Penal Code, Title H , § 125.15(1) (2009)
  4. New York Penal Code, Title H , § 125.15(2) (2009)
  5. New York Penal Code, Title H , § 125.15(3) (2009)
  6. New York Penal Code, Title H , § 125.15(4) (2009)