Understanding Indiana's Homicide Laws

Unlike other states, which distinguish between various levels or degrees of murder, all murder charges in Indiana fall under the same statute. However, there are other manslaughter charges that will define a homicide that occurs accidentally or as the result of a sudden emotional response.


Nearly everyone understands the dictionary definition of murder as the unlawful killing of another human being. Legally, however, a homicide must meet certain criteria to be considered murder.

Indiana defines murder as any of the following:

  • Intentional homicide of another person
  • Homicide while committing, or attempting to commit, certain felonies
  • Intentional homicide of a fetus which has attained viability

Voluntary Manslaughter

A lesser (although still extremely serious) homicide charge is voluntary manslaughter. Voluntary manslaughter is a very subjective charge, as it must be proven that the offender committed the homicide “in the heat of emotion.” Common examples of voluntary manslaughter include some self-defense cases, as well as homicide committed after an individual discovers a cheating spouse.

Involuntary Manslaughter & Reckless Homicide

Separate from both voluntary manslaughter and murder charges, involuntary manslaughter requires a lack of intent to kill. A common example of involuntary manslaughter, or the separate but related reckless homicide, would be vehicular homicide. Drunk or distracted drivers who kill passengers, other drivers, or pedestrians, could be found guilty under these statutes. While a lesser charge than other forms of homicide, involuntary manslaughter is still a felony.

Charged with Homicide? Call Our Indianapolis Defense Attorney

Zaki Ali is an Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer who has aggressively defended residents of Indianapolis and the surrounding counties for more than 15 years and passionately advocates for his client’s rights.

If you’ve been accused of homicide, call Zaki Ali, Attorney at Law at (765) 697-9002 today.


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