Each year, hundreds of individuals are charged with and convicted of the offense of murder in Chicago. Murder is governed by 720 ILCS 5/9-1 as part of the Illinois Compiled Statutes. Murder charges are extremely serious, and murder convictions can carry devastating, lifelong consequences, including heavy fines, jail time and/or death. Govern Pat Quin did sign a law repealing the death penalty in Illinois in March, 2009. That being said, the death penalty and the criminal justice system is constantly under review and it is never known whether the death penalty will some day be reinstated.
In Illinois, the typical range of sentence for murder is 20-60 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Under the truth-in-sentencing law, a person convicted of murder is not entitled to any time off for good behavior. In other words, a defendant found guilty of murder must serve every day of his or her sentence.
Prior to the passage of truth-in-sentencing in the late 1990’s, a defendant could be convicted of murder and actually serve just under 10 years. It was not uncommon for an 18 year old man to commit murder, get convicted and be back home when he was just 28 years old. For better or for worse, those days in Chicago and Cook County are over. Today, if a defendant is sentenced to 20 years in prison for murder, he or she must serve every day of that 20 years. There is no time off for good behavior. It is therefore critical to hire an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney to defend a murder case.
Although the usual sentence is 20-60 years for murder, there are many circumstances in which the sentence can be far greater. For example, if a person is convicted of murder and it is found that they personally discharged a firearm, an additional 25 years will be added to the sentence. Therefore, such a person will serve 45-85 years for a murder. Where the defendant is convicted of actually pulling the trigger and killing the alleged victim, the person faces the possibility of natural life in prison. This means the person will never be released from prison. Another example of a person eligible for natural life in prison is someone who kills more than one individual.
– Second degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-2), is a Class 1 felony offense or charge that is punishable by 4-20 years in prison. In some cases, a judge may sentence an individual to a term of probation for a second degree murder conviction. It is uncommon that a person will be charged with second degree murder in Illinois. Typically the person is charged with first degree murder and second degree murder may be agreed to in a plea bargain or as a lesser finding of guilty by a judge or jury.
A common reason for a finding of guilty on a second degree murder charge is where the defendant believes he or she is entitled to use deadly force in self defense but is mistaken. Another argument in favor of second degree murder is where a suspect acts under a sudden impulse and kills another person. In other words, the suspect did not spend a great deal of time in planning the murder but killed another person in the spur of the moment, typically after a very intense and shocking set of circumstances.
– Involuntary manslaughter (720 ILCS 5/9-3) and Reckless homicide (720 ILCS 5/9-3) are criminal charges or offenses resulting from an unlawful death. These charges are normally brought where the accused did not act intentionally to kill the victim, but instead acted either recklessly or with knowledge that their actions were likely to cause death or great bodily harm. Depending on the facts of the case and the charges filed, these offenses can range from 3-28 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. This is still a very serious criminal offense and requires the assistance of an experienced and knowledgeable criminal attorney in Chicago.
If you or a loved one has been charged with murder in Chicago or the suburbs of Cook C0unty, you can ensure the best possible outcome to your case by securing the services of the Law Offices of Andrew M. Weisberg.
When arrested for and facing serious criminal charges, it is critical to find a great criminal defense lawyer who is at the top of his profession. Finding an experienced criminal defense attorney is the best thing you can do to protect your reputation and avoid jail time or prison time. Mr. Weisberg handles all felony and misdemeanor charges in all Cook County courthouses including Chicago (and all branch courts), Skokie, Rolling Meadows, Maywood (Maybrook), Bridgeview and Markham.
Mr. Weisberg is dedicated to providing his clients with first-class service by developing personalized attorney-client relationships with each defendant.
If you or a loved one has been charged with murder in the Chicago area, you owe it to yourself to secure the most aggressive and experienced defense possible. Don’t take chances with your future. Contact the Law Offices of Chicago lawyer Andrew Weisberg to discuss your individual circumstances.