Chicago Just Had Its Most Violent Day in 60 Years
Chicago sees its fair share of violence and crime, but over a weekend at the end of May, violence saw a new high.
According to the University of Chicago Crime Lab, May 31, 2020, was the most violent day Chicago has seen since it started collecting data in 1961. Eighteen people were killed in one day, and 25 were killed in total before the weekend was over.
Murder is a crime that carries with it severe penalties, but being charged with murder doesn’t mean you will spend the rest of your life in prison. There are a number of ways that you can mount a defense against murder charges, and no two murder cases are charged or tried the same way. Here’s what you need to know about being charged with murder in Chicago.
Understanding Murder Charges in Illinois
Causing the death of another person can result in being charged with murder in Illinois. The type of murder charge someone will face depends on the circumstances and facts surrounding the case. The factor that often determines the type of murder charge is the intent of the person being charged when the crime was committed.
The most common types of murder charges include:
First Degree Murder
The most serious murder charge someone can face is first degree murder. In general, it’s defined as the intentional killing of someone else without legal justification. In Illinois, there are three scenarios that often result in first degree murder charges. These are:
- Intending to kill or cause great bodily harm to someone else
- Committing or attempt to commit a forcible felony, such as robbery or sexual assault, at the same time as the murder
- Understanding that the acts undertaken create the possibility of or death
Acting in a way that causes the killing of another, coupled with intent to kill them, will likely result in first degree murder charges, but it must be shown that the person committing the crime was deliberate in their actions and in thought.
Second Degree Murder
Second degree murder differs from first degree in how the crime is justified. In Illinois, second degree murder can be charged if the death of another person occurs when the accused:
- Was acting under an intense and sudden crime of passion that was the result of provocation by the victim or someone else
- Believed mistakenly that the murder was justified legally
Self-defense and crimes of passion are common examples of situations that can result in a second degree murder charge. The defendant must be able to prove that one of the mitigating factors mentioned existed at the time the crime occurred.
Penalties for Illinois Murder
In our state, if you are found guilty of murder, you can face serious penalties.
First Degree Murder Sentencing
If found responsible of first degree murder, the least possible sentence in Chicago is 20 years served in prison. If there are no aggravating factors, the sentence cannot be more than 60 years. However, aggravating factors can increase the sentence. These factors include things such as:
- Victim under the age of 12
- Victim over the age of 60
- Victim was a corrections officer, firefighter, or police officer
- Murder was done for compensation
- Victim’s death was the result of a hijacking
- Victim was under a protective order
- Victim was tortured before they died
Aggravated first degree murder is punishable in Illinois by life in prison.
Second Degree Murder Sentencing
Being found guilty of a second degree murder is a Class 1 felony in Illinois. If convicted, between four and 20 years can be served in prison.
Understanding the ramifications for murder, even if done as a crime of passion or self-defense, is crucial to fighting your charges and protecting your future.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.