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What is the Law on Manslaughter in Colorado and What are the Punishments for it?

Manslaughter is an unlawful killing without malice. Unlike other states, Colorado manslaughter law (section 18-3-104) is not classified. Many American states classified manslaughter into voluntary, involuntary and vehicular. Colorado has three more manslaughter laws that include assisted suicide, accidental deaths and killing someone with a car texting, in a drunk state, racing.

Voluntary is now a second degree

Under Colorado manslaughter laws, voluntary manslaughter (heat of passion)  is now a second-degree murder with less penalty. The heat of passion killing or quarrel killing happens when you provoked by something.  Most of the second-degree murder is a Class 2 felony, but it is a Class 3 felony when the murder happens under the heat of passion.

Aiding Suicide in Colorado

Aiding suicide is you guiding someone to commit suicide. It is also manslaughter when you intend someone to commit suicide. Also, when you assist or encourage someone to perform the act that results in death. If you actively aid in suicide that results in death then it is murder.

A medical caregiver is exceptional as there may be circumstances that cause death. However, this does not permit a medical caregiver to aid in a patient’s suicide.

Colorado Manslaughter Law

Criminally Negligent Manslaughter in Colorado

The killing of another person by conduct that even includes operating a motor vehicle under influence. It also includes someone who dies because of your reckless behavior. However, they considered less serious than second-degree and first-degree murder.

Vehicular Manslaughter in Colorado

A motorist can be convicted if he/ she causes the death of another person in the following situations:

  • Driving Under Influence–either by consuming alcohol or drugs

  • Recklessness—drives the vehicle recklessly disregarding the safety of others or consciously disregards the safety of others

Accidental Killing in Colorado

It includes accidents caused by a sober driver, hunting accidents and also death caused by hazardous conditions at the home.

Punishments for Manslaughter in Colorado

A second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter is a Class 3 felony, and the person is punishable

  • by a maximum fine of dollar 750,000

  • imprisonment up to 12 years

    Manslaughter Law Colorado

Aiding suicide is a Class 4 felony and is punishable

  • by a maximum of dollar 50,000 fine

  • imprisonment up to 6 years

Criminally negligent is a Class 5 felony and if the victim is an adult or juvenile, then it's Class 4 felony and is punishable

  • by a maximum of dollar 100,000 fine

  • imprisonment up to 3 years

Vehicular manslaughter is a Class 4 felony if you drove recklessly and kill someone and is punishable

  • by a fine of dollar 2000 to dollar 500,000

  • by 2 to 6 years of imprisonment

  • by both fine and imprisonment


Vehicular manslaughter is a Class 3 felony if you kill someone while driving under influence (even if you are not driving recklessly) and is punishable

  • by a fine of dollar 3000 to dollar 750,000

  • by 4 to 12 years of imprisonment

  • by both sometimes

Justification for Manslaughter in Colorado

In Colorado manslaughter laws, you are justifiable:

  • If you use force or defend against another person who intends to cause harm

  • If you defend when you reasonably believe that someone is about to commit robbery, during the commission of burglary or sexual assault

  • Also, when someone enters your home unlawfully with intent to commit the crime and you reasonably believe that another person may use his physical force against you

Depending upon the circumstances, Colorado manslaughter punishments may vary and there are several defenses to manslaughter charges. It includes, you being the victim of mistaken identification/ police violated the rights, accidental killing

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