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Involuntary Manslaughter and Reckless Homicide

Involuntary manslaughter is the lowest charge in Illinois of all homicide charges, yet should still be taken very seriously.

Unlike a murder charge, involuntary manslaughter is the unintentional killing of a human being. First degree murder or second degree murder requires an intent to kill the decedent, however involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide typically results from an accident or an act of reckless behavior. An Illinois homicide attorney can provide you with the legal assistance and guidance if you are facing criminal charges. If you have been charged with either of these offenses, contact a Chicago attorney at Goldman & Associates for legal advice on your case.

Illinois State Law

Under Illinois Law, pursuant to 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann 5/9-3, an individual commits the offense when he or she unintentionally kills an individual without a lawful defense.

Involuntary Manslaughter

Involuntary manslaughter occurs when an individual commits an act that results in death of the victim and the defendant’s act was likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the victim. The defendant must have acted and performed the acts recklessly. Recklessness is consciously disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk; furthermore, the disregard must result in a gross deviation from the standard of conduct to which a law-abiding person would adhere.

Reckless Homicide

Reckless homicide, conversely, takes place when an individual unintentionally kills an individual while driving a vehicle.

Defenses to Involuntary Manslaughter

The defendant can argue several defenses to a charge of involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide, including:

  • Self-defense;
  • Defense of another person;
  • Accidental actions; or
  • Insanity.

The most common defense is that the defendant did not act recklessly. The defendant can argue that he acted in a reasonable manner and the death was an accident.

Punishment if Found Guilty

Since these charges include the unintentional killing of an individual, the punishment for a conviction is less severe than those for murder.

Illinois state law classifies these charges as a Class 3 Felony. However, some charges may be classified as a Class 2 Felony, contingent upon aggravating factors.

Contact a Chicago Defense Attorney Today

If you are facing criminal prosecution for any homicide-related crime or have been charged with either involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide, Goldman & Associates can assist you in understanding and protecting your legal rights. Reach out to our experienced and professional attorneys today to discuss your case.