Assisted Suicide Laws in the United States


State

Law

Description




Alabama

Common law

Common law is based on
principles, customs and case law, rather than on a specific statute.
(1)


Alaska

Alaska Stat.

§ 11.41.120 (a) (2)

A person commits the crime of
manslaughter if the person  intentionally aids another person to commit
suicide


Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat.

§ 13-1103 (A) (3)

A person commits manslaughter by

intentionally offering or providing the physical means that another person uses to commit suicide, with the knowledge that the person intends to commit suicide

 

Arkansas

Ark. Code

§ 5-10-104 (a) (2)

and

Ark.  Code

§ 5-10-106 (b)

A person commits manslaughter
if the person purposely causes or aids another person to commit suicide.

and

It is unlawful for any
physician or health care provider to commit the offense of
physician-assisted suicide by prescribing any drug, compound, or
substance to a patient with the express purpose of assisting the patient
to intentionally end the patient’s life or assisting in any medical
procedure for the express purpose of assisting a patient to
intentionally end the patient’s life.

 


California

Cal. Pen. Code § 401

Every person who deliberately
aids, or advises, or encourages another to commit suicide, is guilty of
a felony.

Colorado

Colo. Rev. Stat.

§ 18-3-104 (1) (b)

A person commits the crime of
manslaughter if such person intentionally causes or aids another person
to commit suicide.

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat.

§ 53a-56 (a)

A person is guilty of
manslaughter in the second degree when he intentionally causes or aids
another person, other than by force, duress or deception, to commit
suicide.

Delaware

Del. Code  § 645

A person is guilty of
promoting suicide when the person intentionally causes or aids another
person to attempt suicide, or when the person intentionally aids another
person to commit suicide.

District of Columbia

Common law

Common law is based on
principles, customs and case law, rather than on a specific statute.
(2)


Florida

Fla. Stat. § 782.08

Every person deliberately
assisting another in the commission of self-murder shall be guilty of
manslaughter, a felony of the second degree.

Georgia
§ 16-5-5

On 5/1/12, Gov. Nathan Deal signed a new law (HB 1114) prohibiting assisted suicide in GA, replacing a 1994 law that had been found unconstitutional.

………………..
In a 2/6/12 opinion
, the GA Supreme Court overturned this 1994 law.
Ga. Code§ 16-5-5 (b) and (c)

The new law provides that any person who knowingly and willfully assists another  person in the commission of such person’s suicide shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not less and one nor more than ten years.
If the person convicted of assisting a suicide is a health care provider, the person’s license, permit, registration, etc. shall be revoked.

……………
In a 2/6/12 opinion, the GA Supreme Court overturned this 1994 law.
Any person who publicly
advertises, offers, or holds himself or herself out as offering that he
or she will intentionally and actively assist another person in the
commission of suicide and commits any overt act to further that purpose
is guilty of a felony…. Any person who knowingly and willfully commits
any act which destroys the volition of another, such as fraudulent
practices upon such person’s fears, affections, or sympathies; duress;
or any undue influence whereby the will of one person is substituted for
the wishes of another, and thereby intentionally causes or induces such
other person to commit or attempt to commit suicide shall be guilty of a
felony.


Hawaii

Haw. Rev. Stat.

§ 707-702 (1) (b)

A person commits the offense
of manslaughter if the person intentionally causes another person to
commit suicide.

Idaho

I.C.
§ 18-4017

A person is guilty of a felony if such person, with the purpose of assisting another person to commit or to attempt to commit suicide, knowingly and intentionally either:
(a) Provides the physical means by which another person commits or attempts to commit suicide;
or
(b) Participates in a physical act by which another person commits or attempts to commit suicide.

Illinois

Ill. Comp. Stat.

§ 720, 5/12-31

A person commits the offense
of inducement to commit suicide when he or she does either of the
following:

Coerces another to commit suicide and the other person commits or
attempts to commit suicide as a direct result of the coercion, and he or
she exercises substantial control over the other person through (i)
control of the other person’s physical location or circumstances; (ii)
use of psychological pressure; or (iii) use of actual or ostensible
religious, political, social, philosophical or other principles,

or

With knowledge that another person intends to commit or attempt to
commit suicide, intentionally (i) offers and provides the physical means
by which another person commits or attempts to commit suicide, or (ii)
participates in a physical act by which another person commits or
attempts to commit suicide.

For the purposes of this Section, “attempts to commit suicide” means any
act done with the intent to commit suicide and which constitutes a
substantial step toward commission of suicide.

 

Indiana

Ind. Code

§ 35-42-1-2.5

A person who has knowledge
that another person intends to commit or attempt to commit suicide and
who intentionally does either of the following commits assisting
suicide, a Class C felony:

Provides the physical means by which the other person attempts or
commits suicide,

or

Participates in a physical act by which the other person attempts or
commits suicide.

 

Iowa

Iowa Code

§ 707A.2

A person commits a class “C”
felony if the person intentionally or knowingly assists, solicits, or
incites another person to commit or attempt to commit suicide, or
participates in a physical act by which another person commits or
attempts to commit suicide.

Kansas

Kan. Stat.

§ 21-5407

(a) Assisting suicide is:

(1) Knowingly, by force or duress,
causing another person to commit or to attempt to commit suicide;

or

(2) intentionally assisting another person to commit or to attempt to commit suicide by;

(A) Providing the physical means by which another person commits or attempts to commit suicide;

or

(B) participating in a physical act by which another person commits or attempts to commit suicide.

(b) Assisted suicide as defined in:

(1) Subsection (a)(1) is a severity level 3, person felony; and

(2) Subsection (a)(2) is a severity level 9, person felony.

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat.

§ 216.302

A person commits a felony
when the person knowingly by force or duress causes another person to
commit or to attempt to commit suicide;

or

With the purpose of assisting another person to commit or to attempt to
commit suicide, knowingly and intentionally:

either:

Provides the physical means by which another person commits or attempts
to commit suicide;

or

Participates in a physical act by which another person commits or
attempts to commit suicide.

Louisiana

La. Rev. Stat.

§ 14.32.12

Criminal assistance to
suicide is:

The intentional advising or encouraging of another person to commit
suicide or the providing of the physical means or the knowledge of such
means to another person for the purpose of enabling the other person to
commit or attempt to commit suicide.

or

The intentional advising, encouraging, or assisting of another person to
commit suicide, or the participation in any physical act which causes,
aids, abets, or assists another person in committing or attempting to
commit suicide.

(“Suicide” means the intentional and deliberate act of taking one’s own
life through the performance of an act intended to result in death.)


Maine

Me. Rev. Stat.

Title 17A, § 204

A person is guilty of aiding
or soliciting suicide if he intentionally aids or solicits another to
commit suicide, and the other commits or attempts suicide.

 

Maryland

Md. Crim. Law Code

§ 3-102

With the purpose of assisting
another individual to commit or attempt to commit suicide, an individual
may not:

By coercion, duress, or deception, knowingly cause another individual to
commit suicide or attempt to commit suicide;

or

Knowingly provide the physical means by which another individual commits
or attempts to commit suicide with knowledge of that individual’s intent
to use the physical means to commit suicide;

or

Knowingly participate in a physical act by which another individual
commits or attempts to commit suicide.

Massachusetts

Common law

Common law is based on
principles, customs and case law, rather than on a specific statute.


Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws

§ 750.329a (1) and (3)

or

Common law

Intent to assist individual
in suicide; prohibited conduct; felony; exception; effect of common law
offense.

A person who knows that an individual intends to kill himself or herself
and does any of the following with the intent to assist the individual
in killing himself or herself:

(a) Provides the means by
which the individual attempts to kill himself or herself or kills
himself or herself.

(b) Participates in an act by which the individual attempts to kill
himself or herself or kills himself or herself.

(c) Helps the individual plan to attempt to kill himself or herself
or to kill himself or herself

is guilty of criminal assistance to the killing of an individual, a
felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of
not more than $10,000.00, or both.

This section does not
prohibit a prosecution under the common law offense of assisting in a
suicide, but a person shall not be convicted under both this section and
that common law offense for conduct arising out of the same
transaction.”

Minnesota

Minn. Stat.

§ 609.215

Aiding suicide:

Whoever intentionally advises, encourages, or assists another in taking
the other’s own life may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than
15 years or to payment of a fine of not more than $30,000, or both.

and

Aiding attempted suicide:

Whoever intentionally advises, encourages, or assists another who
attempts but fails to take the other’s own life may be sentenced to
imprisonment for not more than seven years or to payment of a fine of
not more than $14,000, or both.

Mississippi

Miss. Code

§ 97-3-49

A person who willfully, or
in any manner, advises, encourages, abets, or assists another person to
take, or in taking, the latter’s life, or in attempting to take the
latter’s life, is guilty of felony and, on conviction, shall be punished
by imprisonment in the penitentiary not exceeding ten years, or by fine
not exceeding one thousand dollars, and imprisonment in the county jail
not exceeding one year.

Missouri

Mo. Rev. Stat.

§ 565.023, 1

A person commits the crime of
voluntary manslaughter if he knowingly assists another in the commission
of self-murder.


Montana

Mont. Code

§ 45-5-105

and

Mont. Code

§ 45-5-102 thru 104

A person who purposely aids
or solicits another to commit suicide, but such suicide does not occur,
commits the offense of aiding or soliciting suicide.

A person convicted of the offense of aiding or soliciting a suicide
shall be imprisoned in the state prison for any term not to exceed 10
years or be fined an amount not to exceed $ 50,000, or both.

Note 1: According to
the Montana Criminal Law Commission comments, if the assisted suicide
results in death, the offense is criminal homicide, in spite of the
consent or even the solicitations of the victim.

Note 2: On 12/05/08,
Montana District Court Judge Dorothy McCarter ruled that, under the
state’s constitution, Montanans have the right to suicide assistance
from a physician.

Note 3: On 12/31/09,
the Montana Supreme Court ruled that rights granted under the state’s
living will law, “The Rights of the Terminally Ill Act,” form the basis
for permitting physician “aid-in-dying” (doctor-prescribed suicide).
The Court said that doctors can use the patient’s consent as a defense
if charged with assisted suicide for writing a prescription for death.

 

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. Stat.

§ 28-307

A person commits assisting
suicide when, with intent to assist another person in committing
suicide, he aids and abets him in committing or attempting to commit
suicide.

Nevada

Undetermined

The state does not recognize
common law and does not have a statute regarding assisted suicide. (4)

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat.

§ 630:4

A person is guilty of causing
or aiding suicide if he purposely aids or solicits another to commit
suicide.

Causing or aiding suicide is a class B felony if the actor’s conduct
causes such suicide or an attempted suicide. Otherwise it is a
misdemeanor.

New Jersey

N.J. Stat.

§ 2C:11-6

A person who purposely aids
another to commit suicide is guilty of a crime of the second degree if
his conduct causes such suicide or an attempted suicide, and otherwise
of a crime of the fourth degree.

New Mexico

N.M. Stat.

§ 30-2-4

Assisting suicide consists of
deliberately aiding another in the taking of his own life.

Whoever commits assisting suicide is guilty of a fourth degree felony.

New York

N.Y. Penal Law (consolidated)

§ 120.30

and

§ 125.15

A person is guilty of
promoting a suicide attempt when he intentionally causes or aids another
person to attempt suicide. Promoting a suicide attempt is a class E
felony.

and

A person is guilty of
manslaughter in the second degree when he intentionally causes or aids
another person to commit suicide. Manslaughter in the second degree is a
class C felony.

North Carolina

Common law

Common law is based on
principles, customs and case law, rather than on a specific statute.

North Dakota

N.D. Cent. Code

§ 12.1-16-04

Any person who intentionally
or knowingly aids, abets, facilitates, solicits, or incites another
person to commit suicide, or who provides to, delivers to, procures for,
or prescribes for another person any drug or instrument with knowledge
that the other person intends to attempt to commit suicide with the drug
or instrument is guilty of a class C felony.

Any person who, through deception, coercion, or duress, willfully causes
the death of another person by suicide is guilty of a class AA felony.

Ohio

Ohio Rev. Code

§ 3795.02

and

Ohio Rev. Code

§ 4723.28 (B) (33)

§ 4730.25 (B) (23)

§ 4731.22 (B) (37)

§ 4761.09 (A) (14)

Assisting suicide is against
the public policy of the state.  An injunction to prohibit a person from
assisting a suicide may be issued and the court may award the party
requesting the injunction all reasonable attorney’s fees, which shall be
considered damages.

and

Assisting in a suicide is
grounds for professional discipline of health care professionals.

Oklahoma

Okla. Stat. Title 21,

§§ 813-818

and

Okla. Stat.  63,

§§ 3141.1

A person who willfully
furnishes another person with any deadly weapon or poisonous drug,
knowing that such person intends to use the weapon or drug in taking his
own life is guilty of aiding suicide if the suicide occurs or is guilty
of aiding an attempt at suicide if the person attempts to use the weapon
or drug to take his own life.

An injunction to prohibit a
person from assisting a suicide may be issued and the court may award
compensatory and punitive damages to the party requesting the
injunction.


Oregon

Or. Rev. Stat.

§ 163.125 (1) (b)

and

§§ 127.800 – 127.995

Criminal homicide constitutes
manslaughter in the second degree when a person intentionally causes or
aids another person to commit suicide.

Note: The “Oregon
Death with Dignity Act” transformed the crime of assisted suicide into a
medical treatment if the assistance is provided by a physician.

Pennsylvania

18 Pa. Cons. Stat.

§ 2505

A person may be convicted of
criminal homicide for causing another to commit suicide only if he
intentionally causes such suicide by force, duress or deception,

and

A person who intentionally
aids or solicits another to commit suicide is guilty of a felony of the
second degree if his conduct causes the suicide or an attempted suicide,
and otherwise of a misdemeanor of the second degree.

Puerto Rico

Law of P.R., Title 33,

§ 4009

Every person who
deliberately permits, aids, advises, encourages or coerces another to
commit suicide, if the death was consummated or attempted, shall be
punished by imprisonment for a fixed term of three (3) years. Should
there be aggravating circumstances, the fixed penalty established may be
increased to a maximum of five (5) years; if there should be extenuating
circumstances, it may be reduced to a minimum of two (2) years. The
court may impose the penalty of restitution in addition to the penalty
of imprisonment established, or both penalties.

Rhode Island

R.I. Gen. Laws

§11-60-3

and

R. I. Gen. Laws

§11-60-5

An individual or licensed
health care practitioner who with the purpose of assisting another
person to commit suicide knowingly provides the physical means by which
another person commits or attempts to commit suicide; or

Participates in a physical act by which another person commits or
attempts to commit suicide is guilty of a felony and upon conviction may
be punished by imprisonment for up to ten years, by a fine of up to ten
thousand dollars or both.

and

The attorney general is
empowered to seek an injunction against any person violating the
provisions of the law on assisted suicide. The person who has been
assisted or counseled in an attempt to commit suicide, may seek
an injunction against all future unlawful assisted suicides by the
particular individual who assisted or attempted to assist the suicide.

A cause of action for injunctive relief under this section may be
maintained by the attorney general against any individual or licensed
health care practitioner who is reasonably believed to be about to
violate or who is in the course of violating the law on assisted
suicide.

South Carolina

S.C. Code

§ 16-3-1090 (B), (E), and (G)
(1)

and

S.C. Code

§ 16-3-1090 (F) and (G) (1)

It is unlawful for a person
to assist another person in committing suicide.  A person assists in
committing suicide if the person:

by force or duress intentionally causes the other person to commit or
attempt to commit suicide; or

has knowledge that the other person intends to commit or attempt to
commit suicide and intentionally provides the physical means by which
the other person commits or attempts to commit suicide, or participates
in a physical act by which the other person commits or attempts to
commit suicide.

A person who assists in a
suicide is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned
not more than fifteen years or fined not more than one hundred thousand
dollars, or both.

The license or certification
of a health care professional who assists in a suicide shall be revoked
or suspended when the person is convicted, pleads guilty of nolo
contendere.

and

Injunctive relief may be sought against a person who it is reasonably
believed is about to, or who is in the course of, committing assisted
suicide.

The license or certification of a health care professional shall be
revoked or suspended if the person is found in contempt of court for
violating the injunction.

South Dakota

S.D. Codified Laws

§ 22-16-37

Any person who intentionally
in any manner advises, encourages, abets, or assists another person in
taking or in attempting to take his or her own life is guilty of a
Class 6 felony.

Tennessee

Tenn. Code

§ 39-13-216 (a) & (g)

and

Tenn. Code

§ 39-13-216 (e) & (f)

A person commits the offense
of assisted suicide who:

Intentionally provides another person with the means by which such
person directly and intentionally brings about such person’s own death;
or

Intentionally participates in a physical act by which another person
directly and intentionally brings about such person’s own death;

and

Provides the means or participates in the physical act with actual
knowledge that the other person intends to bring about such person’s own
death; and the clear intent that the other person bring about such
person’s own death. Assisted suicide is a Class D felony.

and

Civil action for damages
against any person who assists or attempts to assist suicide may also be
brought.

Texas

Tex. Penal Code

§ 22.08

A person commits an offense
if, with intent to promote or assist the commission of suicide by
another, he aids or attempts to aid the other to commit or attempt to
commit suicide.

An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor unless the
actor’s conduct causes suicide or attempted suicide that results in
serious bodily injury, in which event the offense is a state jail
felony.

Utah

Undetermined

The state does not recognize
common law and does not have a statute regarding assisted suicide. (5)


Vermont

Common law

Common law is based on
principles, customs and case law, rather than on a specific statute.

Virgin Islands

V.I. Code Title 14,

§ 2141

Whoever deliberately aids,
advises or encourages another to commit suicide shall be imprisoned not
more than 5 years.

Virginia

Va. Code § 8.01-622.1

Any person who knowingly and
intentionally, with the purpose of assisting another person to commit or
attempt to commit suicide provides the physical means by which another
person commits or attempts to commit suicide or participates in a
physical act by which another person commits or attempts to commit
suicide shall be liable for damages and may be enjoined from such acts.
The injunction shall prevent the person from assisting any suicide in
the state.

A spouse, parent, child or sibling of a person who commits or attempts
to commit suicide may recover compensatory and exemplary damages in a
civil action from any person who provided the physical means for the
suicide or attempted suicide or who participated in a physical act by
which the other person committed or attempted to commit suicide.

A licensed health care provider who assists or attempts to assist a
suicide shall be considered to have engaged in unprofessional conduct
for which his certificate or license to provide health care services in
the state shall be suspended or revoked by the licensing authority.


Washington

Wa. Rev. Code

§ 9A.36.060

Initiative 1000, approved
10/4/08

A person is guilty of
promoting a suicide attempt when he knowingly causes or aids another
person to attempt suicide. Promoting a suicide attempt is a class C
felony.

 

Note: The “Washington
Death with Dignity Act” transformed the crime of assisted suicide into a
medical treatment if the assistance is provided by a physician.

West Virginia

Common law

Common law is based on
principles, customs and case law, rather than on a specific statute.
(6)

Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. § 940.12

Whoever, with intent that
another take his or her own life, assists such person to commit suicide
is guilty of a Class H felony.

Wyoming

Unclear

Wyoming does not recognize
common law crimes and does not have a statute specifically prohibiting
assisted suicide.  (7)

(1) Alabama’s definition of criminally negligent homicide
may be sufficiently broad to encompass aiding, assisting, causing or promoting
suicide. [Ala. Code § 13-6-1 & § 13-6-4]

(2) The District of Columbia refers to “the crime of
assisted suicide” in its law related advance directives:  “Withholding or
withdrawing resuscitation from a patient in accordance with this chapter shall
not constitute a suicide or the crime of assisting suicide.” [D.C. Code §
7-651.13 (a)]

(3) Effective July 2011.

(4) Nevada’s law regarding withholding or withdrawing
medical treatment implies condemnation of assisted suicide:  Noting the
withdrawal of medical treatment, the statute states that it does “not condone,
authorize or approve mercy-killing, assisted suicide or euthanasia.”  [Nev. Rev.
Stat. § 449.670 (2)]

(5) Utah’s Advance Health Care Directive Act states that it
“does not authorize mercy killing, assisted suicide or euthanasia…” [Utah Code
§ 75-2a-122 (2)]

(6) The WV Health Care Decisions Act implies condemnation
of assisted suicide. [W.Va. Code § 16-30-15]

(7) Wyoming’s definition of criminally negligent homicide
may be sufficiently broad to encompass aiding, assisting, causing or promoting
suicide. [Wyo. Stat. §  6-2-107]

(Common law states – 6)
(Uncertain status of state law – 4)

Last updated 2/6/2012