Under Illinois law, you commit involuntary manslaughter when you kill someone unintentionally, and you did not have a legal justification such as self-defense. You must have acted recklessly in a way likely to cause death or great bodily harm. (See 720 ILCS 5/9-3.)

Involuntary manslaughter is a Class 3 felony, punishable by 3 to 7 years in prison. It differs from reckless homicide in that reckless homicide involves driving a motor vehicle.  It also differs from voluntary manslaughter which requires that you intended to kill

Examples of involuntary manslaughter include a husband suffocating his wife while lying on top of her (People v. Stolberg); shaking, restraining or beating a child; throwing rocks at a truck (People v. Campbell); and mishandling a gun, especially when intoxicated.   

If you are charged with involuntary manslaughter or a similar offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately.  As with most crimes, the state must prove all the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.  Were you truly reckless or likely to cause harm? Were you acting in self defense?  For example, did you fire the gun to scare off someone who was threatening you?    Even if the evidence is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.       

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

See our related post at What is the Difference Between Murder and Manslaughter in Illinois?

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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