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Nebraska Involuntary Manslaughter Law

Unlawful killings in Nebraska can be prosecuted under several different laws, depending on the circumstances surrounding the death. In Nebraska, criminal homicide is divided into several categories: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter (voluntary and involuntary), and motor vehicle homicide. This article illustrates Nebraska's involuntary manslaughter law.

What's the Difference Between Murder and Manslaughter?

The intention to kill or to cause serious bodily injury to another, otherwise known as malice, is the key difference that separates murders from manslaughters. Murder generally encompasses unlawful killings that occur with malice, while manslaughter covers unlawful killings committed without malice.

What's the Difference Between Voluntary and Involuntary Manslaughter?

The distinction between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter in most states hinges on whether or not the killing was done intentionally. Generally, voluntary manslaughter is defined as an intentional killing committed in the heat of passion (where the killer didn't previously intend to kill the victim), and involuntary manslaughter is an unintentional killing that results from reckless or criminal negligence.

In Nebraska, voluntary manslaughter is any unlawful killing, committed without malice, "upon a sudden quarrel." The table below outlines Nebraska's involuntary manslaughter law.

Code Section

Nebraska Revised Statute section 28-305: Involuntary Manslaughter

What's Prohibited?

Killing another person without malice, unintentionally while in the commission of an unlawful act.


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.

Example of Involuntary Manslaughter

Pointing a gun at someone's head qualifies as an unlawful act. Therefore, if Betty recklessly points a gun at her friend's head and the gun accidently discharges killing the friend, Betty has likely committed involuntary manslaughter in Nebraska.

Motor Vehicle Homicide

In Nebraska, there is also the closely related offense of motor vehicle homicide (see section 28-306). Vehicular homicide is committed when the offender causes the death of another unintentionally while operating a vehicle in violation of Nebraska state law, or any city or village ordinance. For example, if you drive drunk in violation of Nebraska's driving while intoxicated law and accidently hit and kill a pedestrian, you have likely committed motor vehicle homicide.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information contact a local criminal defense lawyer.

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