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What are the sentences for Manslaughter in Minnesota? Criminal Defense, Manslaughter/Murder

What are the sentences for Manslaughter in Minnesota?

3 months ago by Molli Meyer
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What is manslaughter?

“Manslaughter is an unlawful killing that doesn’t involve malice aforethought—intent to seriously harm or kill, or extreme, reckless disregard for life.”

The laws differentiating manslaughter from murder vary from state to state. In the state of Minnesota, manslaughter can be defined as a crime of extreme passion or negligence. If you are facing manslaughter charges in Minnesota, you should speak with an experienced attorney to find out your available legal options.

Woodbury Manslaughter Lawyer Justin M. Schiks, at JS Defense, represents clients across the state of Minnesota. He has successfully helped clients facing a wide range of criminal charges.

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In the state of Minnesota, there are 2 classifications of manslaughter: First-degree manslaughter and second-degree manslaughter.

First-degree manslaughter 

This degree of manslaughter is often charged for killing someone in the heat of passion. An example of this: A person catches their spouse in bed with another person. If this person kills one or both individuals, they would likely be charged with first-degree manslaughter.

Second-degree manslaughter 

This manslaughter charge is more along the lines of engaging in reckless behavior. You could be charged with second-degree manslaughter if you knowingly or consciously take a risk that results in the death of a person. For example, you engage in negligent behavior with a gun on a hunting trip then accidentally shoot someone dead.

Manslaughter charges in the state of Minnesota can have serious consequences. Even if the death was unintentional, you could end up spending a number of years behind bars because of your negligence.

You will need an experienced attorney with a solid track record in your corner. If you live in the Minnesota area, call upon JS Defense for a reliable and agressive defense.

Defenses Against Manslaughter

When facing a charge of manslaughter in Minnesota, it is essential to understand that the consequences can be severe, including lengthy prison sentences and life-altering penalties. If you or someone you know is in this difficult situation, always hire a reputable Minnesota criminal defense lawyer to build a strong defense strategy.


One possible defense against a charge of manslaughter is self-defense. In Minnesota, individuals have the right to protect themselves from harm or the threat of harm, including the use of force if necessary. If the accused can show that they believed their life was in immediate danger, and their use of force was necessary to defend themselves, it may be possible to argue self-defense as a defense against the charge of manslaughter.

Reduced Charges

Another defense strategy could be the claim of involuntary manslaughter. In some cases, an individual may have caused the death of another person unintentionally or without the intent to cause harm. For example, if the death occurred due to an accident or a mistake, it may be possible to argue that the actions were not criminal in nature. This defense would require demonstrating that the accused did not act recklessly or with disregard for the safety of others.


Additionally, your Minnesota defense lawyer will consider the possibility of mistaken identity or wrongful accusation. In some cases, individuals may be charged with manslaughter based on mistaken witness identification or false accusations. A skilled criminal defense lawyer will thoroughly investigate the evidence and challenge the prosecution’s case to prove the defendant’s innocence. This may involve gathering alibi evidence, interviewing witnesses, or presenting expert testimony to cast doubt on the accuracy or reliability of the prosecution’s evidence.

Plea Negotiations

You must have a lawyer who can negotiate plea bargains effectively. While every case is unique, there may be instances where it is in the defendant’s best interest to negotiate a plea agreement rather than proceeding to trial. An experienced criminal defense attorney will understand the intricacies of the law and can guide individuals through the negotiation process. They will work tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome, taking into consideration the specific circumstances of the case and the client’s best interests.

Never Wait to Begin Your Defense

Facing a charge of manslaughter is a serious matter that requires experienced legal representation from the very start. As soon as you are arrested, you can – and should – invoke your right to remain silent and call a Minnesota criminal defense lawyer. 

A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney will evaluate the unique circumstances of each case and build a strong defense strategy tailored to protecting the rights and interests of their clients. From exploring self-defense claims to challenging the prosecution’s evidence, a skilled attorney will fiercely advocate for their clients, aiming to achieve the best possible outcome. 

If you or someone you know is facing a manslaughter charge in Minnesota, do not hesitate to seek the guidance and representation of a trusted criminal defense lawyer to ensure your rights and future are protected throughout the process.

Sentences for manslaughter in Minnesota

Manslaughter may not be murder, but it can still get you some time in prison if you are convicted. How you are sentenced can be based on the severity of the crime, as well as if you have a prior criminal record. Here are the guidelines:

  1. The sentence for first-degree manslaughter can range up to 15 years in prison and up to $30,000 in fines or both. In most cases, the defendant will only serve 7-10 years.
  2. The sentence for second-degree manslaughter could net a defendant up to 10 years in prison. However, in many cases, they will likely serve less than 5 years.

If you find yourself facing a manslaughter charge in Minnesota, don’t delay. Seek out legal representation as quickly as possible. Criminal defense attorney Justin Schiks at JS Defense is ready to help you with your charges. Call today 651-362-9426 for a free consultation.



Award-winning criminal defense attorney with a proven track record of dismissals, acquittals, and positive resolutions for his clients. For over a decade, Justin has dedicated himself to criminal and DWI defense. He has advocated for individuals through every step of a case, from pre-charge representation through pretrial hearings and trials.


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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney Justin M. Schiks who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney.

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