Oklahoma Manslaughter Defined

Homicide is the taking of another person’s life.  Under Oklahoma law, there are various degrees of homicide with which an individual may be charged.  When one hears the term “homicide,” one often thinks of first-degree murder, the most serious of Oklahoma homicide charges.  Murder in the first degree is the intentional, premeditated killing of another person.  First-degree murder charges can also result from death by child abuse, unintentional murder during the commission of a felony, or the killing of a law enforcement official performing his or her duties.  However, while the word “homicide” conjures images of deliberate murder, Oklahoma homicide law establishes charges for actions that result in the death of another.  The unlawful killing of another person without “malice aforethought” is considered manslaughter.

Oklahoma manslaughter can be voluntary or involuntary.  Voluntary manslaughter is an act of murder that occurs during a sudden quarrel or “in the heat of passion.”  Involuntary manslaughter occurs when a death is the result of a negligent, reckless action or is caused by an illegal act that is not a felony. Often, involuntary manslaughter charges stem from motor vehicle accidents.  This type of manslaughter is frequently referred to as vehicular manslaughter.  Fatal reckless driving accidents and DUI collisions can result in involuntary manslaughter charges for the individuals who caused the accident.

DUI manslaughter in Oklahoma is generally charged as first-degree manslaughter.  According to Oklahoma Statutes, first-degree manslaughter occurs:

1. When perpetrated without a design to effect death by a person while engaged in the commission of a misdemeanor.

2. When perpetrated without a design to effect death, and in a heat of passion, but in a cruel and unusual manner, or by means of a dangerous weapon; unless it is committed under such circumstances as constitute excusable or justifiable homicide.

3. When perpetrated unnecessarily either while resisting an attempt by the person killed to commit a crime, or after such attempt shall have failed.

Because first offense Oklahoma DUI is a misdemeanor, a fatal DUI accident would fall under the first definition of manslaughter in the first degree.  First-degree manslaughter in Oklahoma is a felony punishable by four years to life in prison.

If you have been charged with manslaughter in Oklahoma, the punishment for your alleged reckless action can be staggering.  Consult an experienced Oklahoma homicide attorney for your defense.

Oklahoma homicide attorney