Nebraska Voluntary Manslaughter Law

A homicide occurs anytime one person causes the death of another. Some homicides are legal and others are criminal. Criminal homicides in Nebraska are broke up into several different crimes including: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter (voluntary and involuntary), and motor vehicle homicide. This article provides a brief overview of Nebraska's voluntary manslaughter laws.

What's the Difference Between Murder and Manslaughter?

Generally, unlawful killings that are done with malice are classified as murders, while unlawful killings that are done without malice fall into the manslaughter category. The term "malice" is usually defined as the intent to kill or to cause serious bodily injury.

What's the Difference Between Voluntary and Involuntary Manslaughter?

However, it gets a bit more complicated because Nebraska's manslaughter statute can be broken down into voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. The key difference is whether or not the killing was done intentionally. In most states, voluntary manslaughter is an unintentional killing where the offender didn't previously intend to kill the victim, but killed on the heat of passion, and involuntary manslaughter is an unintentional killing that results from reckless or criminal negligence.

In Nebraska, involuntary manslaughter is the unlawful but unintentional killing, without malice, as the result of the defendant's commission of an unlawful act. Involuntary manslaughter isn't a lesser-included offense of voluntary manslaughter. On the other hand, voluntary manslaughter is killing with intent and with provocation (upon a sudden quarrel), regardless of whether the killing occurs in the course of an unlawful act.

Nebraska's Voluntary Manslaughter Statute

Code Section

Nebraska Revised Statute section 28-305: Voluntary Manslaughter
What's Prohibited? Killing another without malice during a "sudden quarrel."

Penalties

Class III felony that is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000, and/or imprisonment for between one and 20 years.

See section 28-105 for more information about sentencing in Nebraska.

Voluntary Manslaughter Example

For example, if Bob and Joe get into a bar fight that leads to Bob breaking a bottle over Joe's head and killing him, Bob would be guilty of voluntary manslaughter if it is proven that he intentionally killed Joe due to the sudden quarrel, and without malice.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Nebraska's voluntary manslaughter law contact a local criminal defense lawyer.

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