Illinois Murder Attorney
Michael Chomiak is an Illinois Murder Attorney – defense of homicide charges.
Homicide Offenses in Illinois
Homicides in Illinois fall under offenses directed against the person and include all acts that result in a death of a person. The Illinois statutes are complex, and the severity of each crime depends upon the circumstances of the individual case. Criminal homicides are felonies and can result in sentences of two years up to life in prison, and fines of up to $25,000. In 2011 Illinois abolished the death penalty. Now, the most severe sentence that can be imposed is life in prison. In addition to criminal liability, there is also the possibility of a civil lawsuit for wrongful death. A civil lawsuit has a lower standard of proof than a criminal case and can result in paying monetary damages. If you have been charged with a homicide, it is important to contact a knowledgeable Chicago defense attorney to protect your rights and defend your case.
First Degree Murder
First degree murder is the most serious homicide offense in Illinois. The state has the burden of proving the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Illinois statute defines first degree murder as killing another person without lawful justification when:
As with most crimes, there are many mitigating and aggravating factors that affect the severity of the crime. Aggravating factors include: if the victim was under 12 or over 60, if the victim was a police officer, if the murder was premeditated, if it was to prevent the victim from testifying in court, if the victim was also tortured, or if it is connected to terrorism. Mitigating factors include: if the defendant has no past criminal history, if the defendant acted under threat of death or great bodily harm, if the defendant was not present, or if the defendant suffers from reduced mental capacity. Usually a separate sentencing hearing will look at aggravating and mitigating factors to determine the appropriate sentence for the murder. Often a charge of first degree murder will result in 20 to 60 years in prison or a lifetime sentence.
Intentional Homicide of an Unborn Child
The intentional homicide of an unborn child takes place if a person kills an unborn child without lawful justification when:
This does not include the act of a legal abortion to which a woman has consented. The penalty for this crime is the same as first degree murder―20 to 60 years or life in prison―and can be increased if the defendant also carried a firearm or discharged the firearm during the offense.
Second Degree Murder
In Illinois, second degree murder is committed when a person commits first degree murder (as defined above), and has the following mitigating factors:
Illinois statute defines serious provocation as “conduct sufficient to excite an intense passion in a reasonable person.” The defendant has the burden to prove either mitigating factor with a preponderance of evidence in order to get a conviction of second degree murder rather than first degree murder. Second degree murder is a class 1 felony which results in a possible sentence of 4 to 15 years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine.
Voluntary Manslaughter of an Unborn Child
Voluntary manslaughter of an unborn child occurs when a person kills an unborn child while acting under intense passion resulting from serious provocation from another whom the offender attempts to kill, but instead negligently or accidentally causes the death of the unborn child. The same definition of serious provocation for second degree murder is used for this crime. This also does not include legal abortions done with consent. Voluntary manslaughter of an unborn child is a class 1 felony which results in the possible sentence of 4 to 15 years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine.
Involuntary Manslaughter and Reckless Homicide
Involuntary manslaughter occurs when a person unintentionally causes the death of another without lawful justification if his/her acts (legal or illegal) are such that are likely to cause death or great bodily harm to some individual and he/she performs them recklessly, except in cases where the death is caused by driving a motor vehicle. Involuntary manslaughter is a class 3 felony. Class 3 felonies have the possibility of 2 to 5 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
Reckless homicide occurs when a person unintentionally kills an individual while driving a motor vehicle or uses an incline in a roadway, such as a railroad crossing, bridge or hill to cause the motor vehicle to become airborne. This is a class 3 felony. Several circumstances increase the severity of the crime and can make it a class 2 felony, including: if it occurs in a school zone with a crossing guard present or if it occurs in a construction zone.
Chicago Homicide Defense Attorney
Homicides are felony crimes that can have severe penalties. Whether you are charged with reckless homicide or first degree murder, you need the help of an experienced Chicago homicide attorney. Call Michael P. Chomiak, Chicago criminal defense attorney, for a consultation about your homicide case.
Chicago Murder Attorney
If you or a loved one is facing murder charges. Please get the help of a dedicated Criminal Defense Lawyer – Michael Chomiak.