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Voluntary Manslaughter

Voluntary manslaughter is a homicide related offense. Homicide is an offense that results in an intentional or unintentional killing of another human being.

Voluntary manslaughter, although more serious than involuntary manslaughter, is not as severe as first or second degree murder. Illinois voluntary manslaughter laws only recognize when the defendant kills an unborn child.

If you have been charged with voluntary manslaughter, 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 5/9-2.1, voluntary manslaughter occurs when a person kills an unborn child without a lawful defense at the time of the killing. A person will be convicted for voluntary manslaughter in one of two instances, if:

  • At the time of the killing, he or she is acting under a sudden and intense passion resulting from serious provocation by someone else, but negligently or accidentally causes the death of the unborn child; or
  • At the time of the killing, he or she intentionally or knowingly kills the unborn child and believes the circumstances would justify the killing under a justifiable use of force.

Voluntary manslaughter requires the culpable mental state that the defendant acted in an intentional or knowing manner or acted from a serious provocation.

Serious Provocation

Serious provocation must be a form of conduct by the victim, or another person, that would cause a reasonable person to become to inflamed with passion and cause him to act from the moment of passion, rather than reason. Serious provocation must be conduct sufficient to excite an intense passion in a reasonable person. It is important to understand that the defendant has the burden of proof to show that he/she was provoked to cause harm to the victim. If the defendant is unable to prove serious provocation, the prosecution may be able to successfully convict the defendant of first degree murder.

Defenses to Voluntary Manslaughter

The defendant can argue several defenses to a charge of voluntary manslaughter, including:

  • Consent from pregnant woman. This would include acts committed during a legal abortion pursuant to Section 2 of the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975;
  • The act was committed pursuant to usual and customary standards of medical practice during either diagnostic testing or therapeutic treatment; or
  • Insanity

Punishment if Found Guilty

Voluntary manslaughter in Illinois is classified as a Class 1 Felony, which may lead to a sentence between 4 to 15 years in prison.

Contact a Chicago Defense Attorney Today

If you are facing criminal prosecution for any homicide-related crime or have been charged with voluntary manslaughter, Goldman & Associates can assist you in mounting a solid defense. Contact us today for more information.