Voluntary manslaughter is commonly defined as an intentional killing in which the offender had no prior intent to kill, such as a killing that occurs in the “heat of passion.”  In Nevada the charge of Voluntary Manslaughter applies when there is “a serious and highly provoking injury inflicted upon the person killing, sufficient to excite an irresistible passion in a reasonable person, or an attempt by the person killed to commit a serious personal injury on the person killing.”

The classic example of voluntary manslaughter is walking in on your spouse in bed with someone else, and immediately fatally wounding the other person. (NRS 200.060)

Involuntary Manslaughter

Involuntary manslaughter, on the other hand, occurs when someone dies as a result of the defendant’s non-felonious illegal act or as a consequence of the defendant’s irresponsibility or recklessness.

The legal definition of involuntary manslaughter in Nevada, is “the killing of a human being, without any intent to do so, in the commission of an unlawful act, or a lawful act which probably might produce such a consequence in an unlawful manner.”

An example of involuntary manslaughter is shooting and killing someone who you mistake as an animal while hunting.


When determining the harshness of the final sentence, the judge or jury takes into account whether you are found guilty of voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter.

Voluntary Manslaughter

The standard punishment for voluntary manslaughter, a category B felony in Nevada, is:

If the evidence in a murder case is weak, the prosecutors may be willing to a plea bargain where the murder charge is reduced to the lesser crime of voluntary manslaughter.

Involuntary Manslaughter

As a category D felony in Nevada, involuntary manslaughter carries the following punishment:

In Nevada murder law cases where the state’s evidence is weak, but prosecutors are still unwilling to dismiss the case outright, they may be agreeable to reducing the charge down to involuntary manslaughter. This may be a beneficial plea bargain to accept since the minimum sentence is only one year, whereas murder sentences may carry life in prison or worse.


If you have been arrested for or charged with manslaughter, seek the counsel of a Reno criminal defense attorney with experience fighting Nevada homicide related cases. We have successfully defended hundreds of manslaughter cases.

There are numerous defenses for manslaughter, including lack of self defense, insanity, and lack of negligent behavior. Lee knows all the defenses and can help you get the charges dismissed and can help you get the charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense like assault.

If you have been arrested for manslaughter, you deserve an experienced criminal defense attorney who will personally handle your case. Call Reno Nevada Law attorney Lee Hotchkin (775) 786-5791 – it’s what we do!