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Iowa Voluntary Manslaughter Law

The act of killing another human is usually either voluntary or involuntary. When the slaying of a human being is voluntary, the crime is usually classified as murder or voluntary manslaughter.

Iowa voluntary manslaughter is a killing that would qualify as a murder, however, it is reduced to voluntary manslaughter because the act took place immediately after a sudden and intense provocation of the killer. This is a quick summary of voluntary manslaughter in Iowa.

Adequate Provocation Under Iowa Voluntary Manslaughter Law

The most common example of a crime that qualifies under Iowa voluntary manslaughter is a husband who comes home to find his wife in bed with his friend. Since any human would feel an intense, violent passion towards both parties in the bed, a killing under these circumstances would constitute as done after adequate provocation. An exception to this rule comes into play if the killer had time to cool off after witnessing the event that caused the provocation.

The following table outlines the specifics of Iowa voluntary manslaughter law.

Code Sections

Iowa Code §707.4: Voluntary Manslaughter.

What's Prohibited?

A person commits Iowa voluntary manslaughter when the he or she causes the death of another person under circumstances which would otherwise be murder, but the person causing the death acts solely as the result of sudden, violent, and irresistible passion resulting from serious provocation. This serious provocation must be sufficient to excite such passion in a reasonable person under the same circumstances.

Also, there must not be a "cooling off" period between the provocation and the killing. This "cooling off" period must be one where a person of ordinary reason and temperament would regain control and suppress the impulse to kill.


A conviction of Iowa voluntary manslaughter is a class "C" felony. A class "C" felon will be punished with up to ten years in prison and a fine of at least $1,000 but not more than $10,000.

Minimum Sentence

If it is found beyond a reasonable doubt that the person guilty of voluntary manslaughter was in the immediate possession and control of a dangerous weapon while participating in the act, the convicted person must serve a minimum of five years in prison. If convicted, the person will not be eligible for parole until the minimum sentence is served.

Charges involving the death of another human being are extremely serious. It is important that you fully understand the extent of your charges and all of your rights. If you have been accused of voluntary manslaughter and require legal assistance, you can contact an Iowa criminal defense lawyer through FindLaw. Visit FindLaw's sections on voluntary manslaughter and criminal charges for more articles and information on this topic.

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