Manslaughter in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, homicide may be classified in several different ways. Homicide is the act of killing another human being; however, not all instances of homicide are equal under the law. For example, an act of homicide may be considered murder or manslaughter. In other cases, homicide may be called negligent, and in certain situations, the killing of another person may be excusable.

Manslaughter Explained

Manslaughter is mainly distinguished from murder by a lack of intent or premeditation. However, not all murder charges include these elements, and the precise charge that results from an act of homicide will depend on the details of the case.

  • First degree manslaughter occurs when someone unintentionally kills another person either in the commission of a misdemeanor, in the “heat of passion” or in an attempt to resist a crime. Examples include a person who drives under the influence (a misdemeanor if it is a first offense) and causes an accident in which another person dies; a scenario in which a person acts impulsively and without rational thought as to the consequence of their actions; or an incident in which a person uses deadly force unnecessarily to resist or prevent a crime from being committed against them.
  • Second degree manslaughter essentially serves as a catch-all statute that covers any act of homicide that does not constitute justifiable or excusable homicide, negligent homicide, first or second degree murder, or first degree manslaughter.


First degree manslaughter is considered a felony offense. The penalties include a minimum prison sentence of four years.

Second degree manslaughter is also a felony, punishable by two to four years in prison.

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