Illinois Criminal Defense Blog

Monday, February 6, 2017

Should You Hire a Murder Defense Lawyer?

In Illinois, murder is one of the most serious criminal charges you could face — and the penalties are extremely severe if you’re convicted. If you’re accused of murder, even if you’re completely innocent, you may want to get in touch with a Chicago murder defense lawyer who understands state laws and who is willing to fight hard to preserve your rights.

Types of Murder Under Illinois Law

The law in Illinois recognizes murder in categories. You could be charged with first-degree murder or second-degree murder. The type of defense strategy your Chicago murder defense lawyer comes up with depends on the type of charge — and it’s incredibly important that you discuss every aspect of your case with your attorney honestly and openly. Your lawyer can’t defend you against things he doesn’t know about.

Involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide are different from murder in that those terms refer to illegal killings that don’t fit the criteria for murder.

Proving First-Degree Murder 

In order to prove first-degree murder to the court, the prosecutor must show that you killed someone without lawful justification and did it under one of the following conditions:

  • You intended to kill the person or do great bodily harm to the person (or knew what you were doing would do so)
  • You knew that what you did created a strong probability of causing either death or great bodily harm
  • You were attempting to commit or were committing a forcible felony (except second-degree murder)

Proving Second-Degree Murder

In order to prove second-degree murder, the prosecutor must show that you killed someone without lawful justification and did so under one of the following conditions:

  • You intended to kill the person or do great bodily harm to the person (or knew what you were doing would do so)
  • You knew that what you did created a strong probability of causing either death or great bodily harm

Penalties for First-Degree Murder and Second-Degree Murder in Illinois

The maximum punishment for first-degree murder is life imprisonment.

Second-degree murder is a Class 1 felony, which carries a possible punishment of between 4 and 20 years in prison. The maximum fine for this type of conviction is $25,000, but that doesn’t include a mandatory surcharge of $3,125. When you’re released from prison, you must remain on parole for at least two years.

Do You Need to Talk to a Murder Defense Lawyer in Chicago, Skokie, or Rolling Meadows?

If you’ve been accused of murder, whether it’s first-degree or second-degree, it may be in your best interest to get in touch with a murder defense lawyer who works in Chicago, Skokie, Rolling Meadows, and the surrounding communities.

Call us immediately at 847-920-4540 for a free murder defense case review. We may be able to help you, so don’t wait — call us now.


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