Tag Archives: reckless homicide

Illinois manslaughter defense lawyerWhen a victim dies because of another person’s actions, the law considers this to be a homicide. It does not matter whether the individual who caused the death intended for a death to occur – he or she can be charged with homicide, as long as his or her actions were not justified. Whether a person is charged with manslaughter or murder depends on the circumstances surrounding the death, including whether the death was the result of an intentional act.

Manslaughter and murder are both serious charges that carry steep penalties for convicted individuals. There are different penalties for these different convictions, and in certain cases, it could be possible to strike a plea bargain, lowering a murder charge to a manslaughter charge and drastically reducing the potential penalties.

What Constitutes Murder?

Murder is defined as the act of intentionally killing another human being without lawful justification (such as self-defense). To find a defendant guilty of first degree murder in Illinois, the court must prove that at least one of the following was true when the victim’s death occurred:

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Manslaughter Charges in IllinoisHomicide 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:

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aggravated DUIIn the summer of 2012, Carly Rousso, a 19-year-old woman from Highland Park, allegedly huffed some chemicals and got behind the wheel. The result of her recklessness was the death of a 5-year-old girl, Jaclyn Santos-Sacramento. Rousso’s case has been widely publicized and contested because the chemical agent Rousso allegedly huffed isn’t technically categorized as an intoxicating substance, according to the Chicago Tribune. This technically is one reason that Rousso’s lawyers are asking prosecutors to dismiss the case against Rousso. Instead of Rousso having to face a charge of aggravated DUI resulting in death, her lawyer has stated that Rousso “would plead guilty to reckless homicide,” according to the Chicago Tribune. A Lake County judge pushed the next hearing back until mid-February in the case, “though both sides now say the case is unlikely to go to trial.” Rousso’s lawyer has said that he’s willing to negotiate a plea deal, but that “the state will not back off the aggravated DUI.” If the judge does end up dismissing the aggravated DUI charges, “the case heads directly to the state Supreme Court,” Lake County assistant state’s attorney Micahel Ori told the Tribune. On the other hand, if Rousso’s case does proceed to a jury trial and she were found guilty of all the many counts against her—“four counts of aggravated DUI and two counts of reckless homicide—she could be sentenced to three to 14 years in prison.” According to the Illinois State Police, any kind of aggravated DUI charge is a class 4 felony (following a crash that results in great bodily harm or permanent disfigurement). If convicted of an aggravated DUI, a person automatically receives a “minimum of one-year loss of full driving privileges,” the Illinois State Police reports. If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI in Naperville, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Contact Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC today.

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