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

The state of Minnesota classifies manslaughter into voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.

Voluntary manslaughter in Minnesota

It is similar to a murder wherein an individual causes the death of another person intentionally. However, voluntary manslaughter is also distinct from murder because the perpetrator behaves because of the heat of passion and does not get sufficient cooling period or was coerced into taking the life of the victim.

The state also has some child and drug abuse related deaths, as well as, killings caused because of a violent misdemeanor criminal offense that can be penalized as voluntary manslaughter.

What does the law prohibit?

The law in Minnesota prohibits any deliberate or intentional killing. Yet, there are some forms of killings that are mitigated or lowered from murder to manslaughter on the basis of the surrounding circumstances. Such circumstances which are considered as manslaughter in the 1st-degree in Minnesota are as follows:

  • Causing the death of another person by the commission of a fifth-degree assault while trying to commit or committing a gross misdemeanor involving violence or a misdemeanor so that the physical injury or death was reasonably expected and yet first-degree or second-degree murder was not committed.
Minnesota Manslaughter Law
  • Killing a person out of a sudden impulsive decision (“heat of passion”) as the offender got provoked by the acts or words, which any individual with usual self-control would have also got provoked in similar circumstances.
  • Killing another person intentionally as the offender was coerced into believing that taking the life of that individual is the only available option to prevent the death of another person or their own imminent death.
  • Causing the death of a person unintentionally by administering, giving away, or selling any controlled substance listed under the act in an unlawful manner.
  • Causing a child’s death while trying to or committing to a malicious punishment of any kid.

Punishments for voluntary manslaughter

The law penalizes manslaughter in the 1st-degree by a fine of up to 30,000 USD and a maximum jail term of 15 years.

Manslaughter Law Minnesota

Involuntary manslaughter in Minnesota

The state of Minnesota regards certain accidental killings as crime and yet does not punish the criminal offense as harshly as a deliberate killing.

In Minnesota, involuntary manslaughter is also referred to as manslaughter in the 2nd-degree. Also, there are 2 forms of vehicular homicides-one for unborn fetuses and the other for human beings.

All come under the category of intentional homicide criminal offenses of 1st-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, 3rd-degree murder, and 2nd-degree murder. The state prohibits vehicular homicide to address the issue of negligent driving like texting while driving and drunk driving.

What does the law prohibit?

Manslaughter in the 2nd-degree is to cause the death of someone else through one of the following:

  • Setting traps like snares, pitfalls, spring guns, etc.
  • Shooting another person with a dangerous weapon or a firearm because the offender was under the impression (negligently) that the victim was an animal or a deer
  • Negligence, which triggered an unreasonable risk while consciously causing serious bodily harm or death to another person
  • Endangering or neglecting a kid while not committing the murder of the first-, second-, or third-degree
  • Allowing any animal the offender knows has caused bodily injury in the past or features vicious propensities to move uncontrolled on the offender’s land or home or a failure to keep the animal properly confined

Punishments for involuntary manslaughter in Minnesota

Criminal vehicular homicide and manslaughter in the 2nd-degree can be penalized by a fine of up to 20,000 USD and a maximum jail term of 10 years. In comparison, murder in the 3rd-degree if convicted as a penalty of a maximum of 25 years behind the bars.


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