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Arkansas Involuntary Manslaughter Law

Homicide occurs when one person takes the life of another, regardless of whether or not the killing was illegal. In Arkansas, there are six types of illegal homicide: capital murder, murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, manslaughter, negligent homicide, and physician-assisted suicide. This article focuses on the crime of negligent homicide, which is also referred to as involuntary manslaughter.

Negligent Homicide in Arkansas

Negligent homicide (or involuntary manslaughter) usually refers to an unintentional killing that results from criminal negligence (or a gross deviation from the standard of care expected from a reasonable person). The classic example of negligent homicide is when a drunk driver is speeding and accidentally hits and kills a pedestrian. It should be noted that involuntary manslaughter is distinct from voluntary manslaughter because in the former crime the killing is unintentional and in the later it is intentional.

The following chart outlines Arkansas' negligent homicide law.

Code Section

Arkansas Code section 5-10-105: Negligent Homicide

What's Prohibited?

Negligent homicide can be committed in either of the following two ways:

1. Negligently causing the death of another person (not constituting murder or manslaughter) as the result of operating a car, airplane, or watercraft:

  • While intoxicated
  • While having a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or more
  • While illegally passing a stopped school bus, or
  • While fatigued

2. Negligently causing the death of another person.


  1. Class B felony. Punishable by a fine of up to $15,000 and/or imprisonment for between five and 20 years.
  2. Class A misdemeanor. Punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and/or imprisonment for up to one year.

Legal Activities Can Result in Negligent Homicide

Under Arkansas' negligent homicide law, legal activities that are carried out irresponsibly or recklessly (to the point of being criminally negligent) can result in a negligent homicide charge if someone dies as a result of the activity. For example, the operator of a dangerous roller-coaster who recklessly fails to make sure that all of the passengers are properly y strapped in may be charged with negligent homicide if a passenger if flung from the roller-coaster and dies.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information about Arkansas' negligent homicide law contact a local criminal defense attorney.

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