Manslaughter Charges in Illinois
Homicide is the intentional killing of another person, though it is certainly possible to be charged with homicide even if the defendant did not intend to kill anyone (such as during a burglary or kidnapping). However, manslaughter is the unintentional killing of another person, aside from in self-defense. Manslaughter can be charged as voluntary or involuntary in Illinois, and both can have tremendous penalties. Motor vehicle collision deaths have been going up over the past two years, and drivers who take reckless actions are one of the driving causes of the upward trend in fatalities. As such, reckless driving, and other forms of manslaughter both voluntary and involuntary are charged as very serious crimes by the state.
Involuntary Manslaughter in Illinois
Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/9-3 defines involuntary manslaughter as follows: “A person who unintentionally kills an individual without lawful justification commits involuntary manslaughter if his acts, whether lawful or unlawful, which cause the death . . . are likely to cause death or great bodily harm to some individual, and he performs them recklessly.” Involuntary manslaughter is a Class 3 felony in Illinois, and carries a punishment of two to five years in prison, according to Illinois statute 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-40. However, a judge can award an extended term punishment of up to 10 years for a variety of reasons, including if the:
- Age of the victim was greater than 60;
- Defendant had priors; and
- The crime was a hate crime.
However, when a driver of a motor vehicle causes an unintentional death, it is charged differently than involuntary manslaughter. When a death occurs from reckless driving caused by a person driving a motor vehicle or operating a snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle, or watercraft they will be charged with reckless homicide. Additionally, “A person commits reckless homicide if he or she unintentionally kills an individual while driving a vehicle and using an incline in a roadway, such as a railroad crossing, bridge approach, or hill, to cause the vehicle to become airborne.” Reckless homicide is also a Class 3 felony.
Aggravated Reckless Homicide or Aggravated Involuntary Manslaughter
Aggravated manslaughter or reckless homicide adds an additional level of punishment and class of felony. Aggravated reckless homicide or manslaughter is defined as the knowingly reckless disregard for human life, and it is a Class 2 felony, punishable by three to seven years in prison, or up to 14 years on an extended term.
Voluntary Manslaughter is Second Degree Murder
Voluntary manslaughter, more commonly referred to as second-degree murder, is the intentional killing of another person but without premeditation. In order for the killing to be considered voluntary manslaughter or second-degree murder, there must have been circumstances that would cause a normally reasonable person to become emotionally or mentally disturbed. Second-degree murder is a Class 1 felony, punishable by four to 20 years in prison.
Contact an Experienced Manslaughter Attorney in Illinois Today
If you have been charged with manslaughter, reach out to us to discuss your legal options. All of our passionate Naperville manslaughter attorneys at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC are prepared to assist you today.