Manslaughter is the act of killing another human being, without actually having had the intention to do so. As manslaughter does result in the death of a human, it is said to be a type of homicide. It is, however, not the same as murder. In murder, the killing takes place 'with malice aforethought'- i.e it is a deliberate crime. In comparison to murder, manslaughter is not considered as serious a crime. But at the end of the day, it is a crime, and therefore punishment must be awarded to the accused.

Manslaughter can be classified into two types- voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter involves killings which are done in the heat of the moment. Examples include a killing blow during a street fight, or a killing done after witnessing the person attack one's young child. In most cases, the accused is provoked into committing the act of taking the other person's life. In cases of involuntary manslaughter, the death normally occurs to recklessness or criminal negligence on part of the accused. For example, if a person unintentionally runs over a man sleeping on the pavement, it is considered as involuntary manslaughter.

In states that grade manslaughter by degrees, voluntary manslaughter is generally taken to be a first degree offence, while involuntary manslaughter is taken as a second or third degree offence. The punishment varies according to the circumstances involved, but the accused can definitely expect a stay in prison, ranging from a couple of years to a couple of decades and more.

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