750.321 and 750.322 - Manslaughter

In Michigan, the crime of manslaughter (voluntary) is similar to that of murder, however without the element of malice aforethought. While manslaughter is not justified, the circumstances under which an individual commits an intentional killing often mitigate the homicide. In order for prosecutors to prove the charge of voluntary manslaughter, he/she must prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt.

Elements of manslaughter:

  1. That the defendant caused the death of the deceased victim, that the deceased individual died as a result of the defendant's action.

  2. That the defendant either:

    1. intended to kill the victim
    2. intended to do great bodily harm to the victim,
    3. created a situation where the risk of great bodily harm or death was very high, knowing that as a result of the defendant's actions he or she knew that serious harm or death would likely result.
  3. That the defendant caused the death of the victim without justification or lawful excuse.

Involuntary manslaughter occurs when an individual kills another person without intent, or unintentionally. The criminal penalties for involuntary manslaughter are as severe as those for voluntary manslaughter.

Additionally, the willful killing of an unborn quick child will result in manslaughter charges. When an individual causes such harm to the mother of an unborn child that it results in the death of the fetus but does not result in the death of the mother, that individual may be charged with manslaughter.

Punishment for Manslaughter under the 750.321 and 750.322 MI Penal Code:

Individuals found guilty of manslaughter will face criminal penalties which include fines of up to $7,500 and up to 15 years in prison. Other factors may affect sentencing, including criminal history.

Consequences of Being Convicted of Manslaughter in Michigan:

Any person convicted of a felony crime will have a criminal record for his or her lifetime. A criminal record often affects employment opportunities, housing, and the ability to secure financing, along with other aspects of the defendant's life.

Successful Manslaughter Defense Strategy

There are numerous defense strategies which may prove to be effective for individuals charged with manslaughter, depending on the specifics of the case. These include self-defense, innocence, accidental killing, involuntary intoxication, or even insanity. Individuals who are convicted of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter may wish to pursue an appeal in an effort to have your conviction or sentence overturned, or seek post-conviction relief.

Other Homicide Crimes:

There are several criminal offenses related to manslaughter, including:

First-degree murder

Second-degree murder

Call a Grabel & Associates Attorney Now for a Free Consultation

The criminal defense attorneys at Grabel & Associates have substantial experience defending a variety of homicide charges, including Manslaughter. Our firm has also experienced success defending against voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, often having charges dismissed and obtaining acquittals, and getting convictions overturned on appeal in some cases.

Act 328 of 1931

750.321 Manslaughter.

Sec. 321.

Manslaughter—Any person who shall commit the crime of manslaughter shall be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison, not more than 15 years or by fine of not more than 7,500 dollars, or both, at the discretion of the court.

History: 1931, Act 328, Eff. Sept. 18, 1931 ;-- CL 1948, 750.321
Former Law: See section 10 of Ch. 153 of R.S. 1846, being CL 1857, § 5720; CL 1871, § 7519; How., § 9084; CL 1897, § 11479; CL 1915, § 15201; and CL 1929, § 16717.

Act 328 of 1931

750.322 Manslaughter; wilful killing of unborn quick child.

Sec. 322.

Wilful killing of unborn quick child—The wilful killing of an unborn quick child by any injury to the mother of such child, which would be murder if it resulted in the death of such mother, shall be deemed manslaughter.

History: 1931, Act 328, Eff. Sept. 18, 1931 ;-- CL 1948, 750.322
Former Law: See section 32 of Ch. 153 of R.S. 1846, being CL 1857, § 5742; CL 1871, § 7541; How., § 9106; CL 1897, § 11501; CL 1915, § 15223; and CL 1929, § 16739.