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Manslaughter in Nevada

There are multiple types of manslaughter crimes in Nevada. This article deals with two types of criminal manslaughter: involuntary manslaughter, and voluntary manslaughter. (For vehicular manslaughter, please click here.)

What is Voluntary Manslaughter?

Under NRS 200.050, Nevada law defines voluntary manslaughter as killing another person in the heat of passion and with no premeditation.

NRS 200.050 sets forth, in full:

“1. In cases of voluntary manslaughter, there must be 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.

  1. Voluntary manslaughter does not include vehicular manslaughter as described in NRS 484B.657.”

What are the Penalties for Voluntary Manslaughter?

In Nevada, Voluntary Manslaughter is a category B felony punishable by 1 to 10 years in Nevada State Prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

What are some Examples of Voluntary Manslaughter?

Voluntary manslaughter is a type of homicide. A homicide is the killing of a human being by another human being. Voluntary manslaughter occurs when the killer is provoked to an immediate rage, in which he kills another in a passion, without time to deliberate.

The classic case for voluntary manslaughter is the killing of a spouse immediately after discovering the spouse cheating with another individual. However, it can be applied in other scenarios which present an equivalent degree of provocation.

Is Voluntary Manslaughter the same as Murder?

No, voluntary manslaughter is not a type of murder. Both voluntary manslaughter and murder are types of homicides, but first-degree murder requires proof of malice, premeditation, and/or deliberation. It requires deliberative intent. Voluntary manslaughter, on the other hands, occurs during a brief instant of rage which prevents the killer from deliberating rationally.

Voluntary Manslaughter as a Defense to Murder

Voluntary manslaughter is often deployed as a tactical defense to allegations of murder, because the penalties for voluntary manslaughter will be much less serious.

This can be done in two ways:

  • (1) seeking a plea negotiation for voluntary manslaughter rather than murder; or
  • (2) asking the jury to convict the defendant of voluntary manslaughter, rather than murder, by proposing a lesser included offense instruction. In Nevada, voluntary manslaughter is a lesser-included offense of murder. See Williams vState, 99 Nev. 530, 531, 665 P.2d 260, 261 (1983). 

What are Defenses to a Voluntary Manslaughter Charge?

Every case is different, but if you are accused of voluntary manslaughter, a skillful criminal defense attorney would investigate defenses which may include:

  • Self defense
  • Defense of others
  • Accident or Mistake
  • Mistaken Identity


What is Involuntary Manslaughter in Nevada?

The Nevada legislature criminalizes “involuntary manslaughter” through NRS200.070. That statute defines involuntary manslaughter as unintentionally killing another person in the commission of either an unlawful act (such as hunting without a license) or a negligent act.

Is Involuntary Manslaughter a Felony in Nevada?

Yes, Involuntary Manslaughter is a Felony in Nevada. It is a Category D felony, which can be punished with 1 to 4 years in state prison and up to five-thousand dollars in fines.

Is This the Same as Murder?

No, involuntary manslaughter not a type of Murder. It is less serious. Although involuntary manslaughter and second-degree murder both involve degrees of negligence, second degree murder is killing with extreme recklessness, while involuntary manslaughter is done with ordinary negligence.

If you are accused of one of these manslaughter crimes, give us a call today for a free initial case review. We will get to work fighting back against the prosecution. 

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