, Know Your Rights When Dealing With Illinois Drug-Sniffing Dogs
, Know Your Rights When Dealing With Illinois Drug-Sniffing Dogs
X

FREE CONSULTATION

Thank you for your interest in The Law Offices of Andrew M. Weisberg. Please fill out the form below and we will be in touch soon

*Indicates Required Fields

, Know Your Rights When Dealing With Illinois Drug-Sniffing Dogs

Call Today for a FREE CONSULTATION

SE HABLA ESPAÑOL

(773) 908-9811

AVAILABLE 24 HOURS/7 DAYS

menu

X

, Know Your Rights When Dealing With Illinois Drug-Sniffing Dogs

(773) 908-9811

AVAILABLE 24 HOURS/7 DAYS

FOLLOW US:

Aggressive. Experienced.

Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
Former Cook Country Felony Prosecutor

, Know Your Rights When Dealing With Illinois Drug-Sniffing DogsBlog Home

The Different Murder Charges in Illinois

Everyone knows that it’s wrong to kill another human being. But oftentimes, things aren’t so cut and dry. Are come types of killings worse than other types? Are there extenuating circumstances that should be recognized?

 

The State of Illinois certainly thinks so. Depending on the actual details surrounding a killing, there are a number of murder and related charges that a defendant might face. Understanding the charges that you are actually facing can make all the difference in the world.

 

So let’s break down these different charges to clarify the specifics of each crime and their associated penalties.

 

First Degree Murder

 

First degree murder is the most serious murder crime here in Illinois. Our state doesn’t have a capital murder charge because we’ve abolished the death penalty. In order to be convicted of this crime, the prosecution must prove – beyond a reasonable doubt – that the defendant killed someone without lawful justification and one of the following is true:

 

  • The defendant intended to kill that person or do great bodily harm to them
  • The defendant knew that the act would most likely result in death or great bodily harm
  • The defendant was attempting to commit a forcible felony (i.e. rape) other than second degree murder

First degree murder is punishable by 20 to 60 years in prison, but if aggravating factors are present, the maximum term can be increased to life. For all first degree murder convictions, the entire prison term must be served.

 

Famous First Degree Murder Case: On September 6, 2012, Drew Peterson – a former police sergeant – was convicted of first degree murder in Illinois for the 2004 death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. He is currently serving a 38-year prison term with the earliest possible release date of May 7, 2047, when he will be 93 years old.

 

He was also named as a suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife Stacy Peterson, which received national publicity and coverage. Stacy’s body has never been found.

 

, Know Your Rights When Dealing With Illinois Drug-Sniffing Dogs

Second Degree Murder

 

While second degree murder is similar to first degree murder, it has certain circumstances that reduce the charge.

 

As with first degree murder, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant unlawfully killed someone and intended to kill or do harm or knew that the act would cause death or harm. If the prosecution can prove either of those circumstances, the defendant then has to prove that:

 

  • He or she was acting under “a sudden and intense passion” at the time of the killing due to being seriously provoked and ended up accidentally or negligently killing an innocent person, or
  • The defendant believed that the killing would have been lawfully justified at the time of the killing but that belief was ultimately unreasonable

If the defendant cannot prove either of these circumstances, the prosecution could change the charge to first degree murder.

 

Unlike first degree murder, second degree murder is a class 1 felony, which is punishable by 4 to 20 years in prison. In some instances, as an alternative to prison, a probation term of 4 years may be an option.

 

Involuntary Manslaughter

 

Manslaughter is defined as the unintentional killing of another person without lawful justification, whereas murder is defined as the intentional killing of another person.

 

So a person commits involuntary manslaughter if the acts that caused the death – lawful or unlawful – are likely to cause death or great bodily harm and are performed recklessly. For example, if someone were to accidentally and unintentionally kill someone with a gun, they could be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

 

Involuntary manslaughter is a Class 3 Felony punishable by 2 to 5 years in prison but can be elevated to a Class 2 Felony – 3 to 7 years in prison – for aggravating factors. But if you’re dealing with a Class 3 Felony, probation might be an option.

 

, Know Your Rights When Dealing With Illinois Drug-Sniffing Dogs

Reckless Homicide

 

Reckless homicide is very similar to involuntary manslaughter. The major difference between the two charges is that with a reckless homicide, the defendant killed someone with a motor vehicle, snowmobile, all terrain vehicle, or watercraft.

 

So if someone was driving under the influence of alcohol and killed someone in a crash, they could be charged with reckless homicide. Additionally, a defendant can face other charges with a reckless homicide charge. In the previous example, that driver could be charged with aggravated DUI along with a reckless homicide charge.

 

As with involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide is a Class 3 Felony punishable by 2 to 5 years in prison but can be elevated to a Class 2 Felony – 3 to 7 years in prison – for aggravating factors.

 

Any criminal charge should be taken seriously, but when it comes to the killing of another person, you should absolutely seek legal help and representation from an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney who understands the law, your charges, and how best to defend your case for the best possible results.

 

 

 

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.

 

Our Blog

What to Know If You Want to Let Your IL Child Drink over the Holidays

Underage Drinking | Minor in Possession | DUI | Juvenile Crimes

If drinking is part of your family’s holiday tradition, you might be tempted to let your teen partake in a small amount of alcohol.

This is okay – but only under certain circumstances. Therefore, if you’re going to allow your teen to drink over the holidays this year, it’s important to know what you can do, and what could result in criminal penalties for you, your teen, or both.

We’ve put together a guide covering Illinois law regarding underage drinking, [...]

Know Your Rights When Dealing With Illinois Drug-Sniffing Dogs

Drug Crimes

Airport security can be stressful enough, but when officers walk by with dogs, everyone seems to tighten up. No one wants a drug-sniffing dog to walk by and start barking.

Unfortunately, countless drug-sniffing dogs have made a scene over someone who wasn’t doing anything illegal. Some studies even show that these dogs are more often wrong than they are right.

Despite this, drug-sniffing dogs are still intimidating, and the act of sniffing someone’s personal belongings or body for drugs can [...]

Law Offices of Andrew Weisberg