The crime of Manslaughter can be committed either as Voluntary Manslaughter or Involuntary Manslaughter. The punishment is the same for both forms of the offense. Voluntary Manslaughter is committed when someone intentionally kills another person in the heat of passion or with adequate provocation. Whether adequate provocation existed at the time of the killing depends on the circumstances surrounding the offense. Voluntary Manslaughter is essentially a Second Degree Murder which is reduced in seriousness by the effect of the heat of passion experienced by the killer. However, words are not enough for adequate provocation. There must be some objective circumstances that constitute adequate provocation or heat of passion.
Involuntary Manslaughter is committed when someone kills another person while being grossly negligent. This often is the case in Vehicular Homicide charges where a person is driving too fast for the conditions and accidentally kills someone. Gross negligence is defined as wantonness or disregard of the consequences which may result or a reckless disregard for the rights of others.
Manslaughter is a serious felony offense punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The typical defendant convicted of Manslaughter in Washtenaw County will spend at least 5-7 years of his/her life in prison. Defendant’s serving a prison sentence for Manslaughter will rarely get released on parole when they first become eligible.