What Does Second Degree Manslaughter Mean?

gavel and handcuffs

In Illinois, this charge carries serious implications. Punishments can include decades-long jail sentences and tens of thousands of dollars in fines. If you or a loved one has been charged with second degree manslaughter, you are likely to have questions about the legal process and how to defend yourself in court.

What Does Second Degree Manslaughter Mean in Illinois?

While many states may refer to second degree manslaughter, in Illinois, the courts use the term “second degree murder.” Illinois law defines second degree murder in three ways:

  1. Second degree murder is an intentional murder committed by someone who acts with intense and sudden passion. The act is not premeditated, and the murder victim instigates the passion.
  2. Second degree murder is a murder that is committed by someone in the heat of passion. The offender intends to kill the party responsible for inciting the intense emotions but fails and negligently kills another person.
  3. Second degree murder occurs when the offender intentionally kills a person because the offender believes the circumstances justify the killing; however, the belief is unreasonable.

To be convicted of second-degree murder in Illinois, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you killed the victim without justification and that you either (1) intended to kill or inflict grave bodily harm to that person or (2) knew that your acts created a strong likelihood of death or grave injuries.

If the prosecutor succeeds in proving these points, then you must prove one of the mitigating circumstances or else you will be charged with first degree murder, which carries a more severe sentence.

Illinois law classifies second degree murder as a Class 1 felony.

Why Choose Wolfe & Stec for Your Second-Degree Manslaughter Attorney?

When you are charged with second degree manslaughter, you need top criminal defense representation in Illinois. At Wolfe & Stec, our second-degree manslaughter lawyer can fight to help you prove your innocence or reduce your charges. One of your first steps should be to speak with an experienced second-degree manslaughter attorney.

Our manslaughter attorney has the skills, knowledge, and experience you want by your side during one of the most challenging points of your life. While it is possible to successfully refute a second-degree manslaughter charge without the assistance of a lawyer, the stakes are too high to leave anything to chance.

Your second-degree manslaughter lawyer will provide you with the following:

  • Unsurpassed knowledge of the local criminal law system
  • Immaculate negotiation skills
  • Compassionate psychological support
  • Access to key resources
  • Unparalleled drive and effort to win your case.

No ethical attorney will guarantee an outcome in any case. However, when the stakes are high, you want a legal team knowledgeable in Illinois manslaughter law and criminal defense. At Wolfe & Stec, we pride ourselves on our ability to provide this to each client we represent.

When you choose the second-degree murder lawyer at Wolfe & Stec, you know you will receive our undivided attention. We firmly believe that each client is innocent until proven guilty.

What Is the Sentence for Second-Degree Manslaughter in Illinois?

If you are wondering what is the punishment for second-degree manslaughter, first you need to know that it is a serious conviction in Illinois. According to Illinois law, the courts can sentence you to between four and 20 years of imprisonment. When you are released from prison, the court will impose a mandatory two-year parole period on you.

In rare cases, the judge may impose a four-year probation term rather than a prison sentence. This situation is most likely if the judge feels the circumstances surrounding the crime deserve leniency.

Additionally, the prison sentence or probation may be accompanied by a fine of up to $25,000.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Second Degree Manslaughter in Illinois

The following are common questions posed to our second-degree manslaughter lawyer. The answers are generalized to apply to most scenarios. However, sometimes there are exceptions to these rules.

  • How serious is second-degree manslaughter?

    Second-degree manslaughter is taken very seriously in Illinois. This crime can receive a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000. If you have been charged with first or second degree manslaughter, you should consider seeking legal advice from an experienced manslaughter attorney.

  • What is punishment for 2nd degree manslaughter?

    The punishment for 2nd degree manslaughter is imprisonment for between four and 20 years in Illinois. If the judge believes leniency is appropriate, you may receive four years of probation instead.

  • What is the difference between first- and second-degree manslaughter?

    First-degree murder occurs when the offender displays calculated intent to kill or cause serious injury to the victim. Second-degree murder is committed in the heat of the moment or when the offender incorrectly believes the killing is justified, such as when using excessive force in self-defense. Second-degree murders receive less severe punishments than first-degree murders. For comparison, a judge can sentence a first-degree murder offender to between 20 and 60 years in prison.

  • Is second-degree murder a felony in Illinois?

    Second-degree murder is recognized as a Class 1 felony in Illinois. If you or a loved one have second-degree murder charges filed against you, consider speaking with a skilled second-degree murder lawyer. Call 630-305-0222 to arrange your free consultation.

  • What is the statute of limitations for second-degree manslaughter in Illinois?

    Some crimes, particularly violent offenses such as murder and manslaughter, don’t have a statute of limitations. This means that Illinois can prosecute offenders at any time. Second-degree manslaughter charges can be prosecuted at any time under Illinois law.

  • Can you get the death penalty for second-degree murder in Illinois?

    Illinois is not a death penalty state. If you are convicted of second-degree murder or second-degree manslaughter in Illinois, you will not face the death penalty.

    If you or a loved one are facing second-degree manslaughter or second-degree murder charges in Illinois, we recommend discussing your situation with an experienced manslaughter lawyer.

How the Lawyers at Wolfe & Stec Can Help

The attorneys at Wolfe & Stec are here to help. A second degree manslaughter charge should not be taken lightly. We understand Illinois manslaughter laws and how to defend our clients against these charges. We will carefully analyze your case and provide you with the most promising defense, given your circumstances.

Our second-degree manslaughter lawyer will offer you personalized attention as we do our best to help you achieve the best possible results for your case. Contact us today to arrange a free consultation to speak directly with our second-degree manslaughter attorney. Call 630-305-0222.

Attorney Marc Wolfe

Marc Wolfe has been representing clients in criminal matters in Chicago and the entire State of Illinois for over 30 years. Mr. Wolfe has tried over 300 cases to verdict and represents clients facing investigation or prosecution for a broad range of state and federal criminal offenses, including murder, embezzlement, sexual abuse, drugs, marijuana and white collar crimes. [ Attorney Bio ]