If you are facing a first degree murder charge in Chicago, Illinois, you want experienced litigators on your side. You have the right to an attorney, although if you cannot afford one, then the state will appoint a public defender to represent you in court. Public defenders are hard-working individuals, but they do generally have enormous caseloads to handle with limited resources, which is why defendants often seek out experienced private criminal attorneys.
If you are facing a first-degree murder charge, you need expert legal guidance and representation from a legal team that has the time and resources to fully investigate your case. The burden of proof lies with the prosecutor, who must prove beyond a reasonable double that the defendant is guilty of murder.
Do I Need a First Degree Murder Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer?
First-degree murder is obviously one of the most serious criminal charges and in Illinois, a first-degree murder conviction generally carries a minimum 20-year prison sentence. If the prosecution can also prove that certain aggravating factors were also present, the accused may even face a life sentence.
As you can imagine, first-degree murder charges can have severe emotional, legal, and financial consequences for you and your family. If you have been accused of a crime or learn that there is a pending investigation, it is critical to contact Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC as quickly as possible.
Our experienced legal team has the resources to fully investigate your case and will work towards a dismissal or reduction of the charges. Our extensive experience and commitment to pursuing an aggressive and effective defense can be seen in prior testimonials from our clients.
Homicide and Murder Charges
There are different types of murder charges that depend on the circumstances of the death. In a first-degree murder charge, the prosecutors generally must prove that the killing was without justification. The defendant must have also acted with intent to kill or cause grave bodily harm, which may can sometimes arise out of a simple assault and battery. You may also have first degree murder charges when a person dies during a felony act.
The prosecutor may also bring second-degree murder charges. In such a circumstance, they generally must prove that someone was killed while acting under a sudden and intense passion. This could be the result of serious provocation by the victim. Second degree murder may also apply if someone is killed in self-defense, but the force used to defend themselves was not proportionate or reasonably justified. The penalty for second degree murder in Illinois is usually a sentence of four to 15 years in prison and up to four years of probation.
A person may also be charged with manslaughter, possibly as due to injuries resulting from a battery. Involuntary manslaughter happens when someone’s death is unintentional. If someone dies as a result of the defendant driving a motor vehicle, this is called reckless homicide. The sentence for manslaughter or reckless homicide is typically two to five years in prison and the potential for up to 30 months of probation. However, if other circumstances are present, someone charged with such an offense may face more serious charges. For example, the death of a police officer or an accident in a school zone may upgrade the charges to a class 2 felony. This generally comes with a longer jail term.
Why Choose Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC to Represent You?
The team at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC has fought for over 30 years on behalf of our clients. We take our client responsibilities seriously, and it’s an honor to advocate on your behalf in the criminal justice system. We work every day to help our clients in an effort to get superior results. Over the years, this has led to many of our clients’ referring their friends and family to us.
Each day our legal team works hard to prevent a conviction and help our clients maintain a clean record. It is important that you select the right attorney to represent you in a first-degree murder charge. The attorney you choose will have a significant effect on the outcome of your case. Experienced lawyers with a proven track record are essential in your effort to protect your rights.
With our team, you can expect to hear the truth from our lawyers, receive 100 percent of our effort, be professionally represented by an experienced and dedicated legal team, and get charged reasonable fees for our services. We believe that our results speak for themselves. However, it is also important to recognize that every case is unique. While we have a strong record of fighting hard for our clients’ rights and winning, our past successes are not a guarantee of success in future cases.
What Are Possible Defense Strategies for First Degree Murder?
If you are charged with first-degree murder, our legal team will carefully examine the evidence, police procedures involved, eyewitness statements, and other relevant facts. Whenever possible, it is our goal to exonerate our clients. We analyze potential strategies for your defense. In some cases, this may include arguing diminished capacity or insanity, presenting alternate scenarios based on evidence, or highlighting flaws or weaknesses. Some defenses that can be considered include:
- Self-defense: If it can be proven that the defendant was provoked by the individual who was killed and that the defendant was not the initial aggressor, then self-defense may be an option
- Intoxication: This defense may sometimes be appropriate if the defendant was intoxicated and lacks the capacity to understand the impact of what was done,
- Lack of requisite intent: In this defense, the defendant lacks the intent to purposefully or knowingly cause injury and bodily harm.
- Insanity: In this circumstance, even if the defendant engages in conduct that results in the death of another, if the defendant’s mental state was such that they were not capable of understanding their actions, an insanity defense may be appropriate.
If a defendant is found guilty, they cannot presently be sentenced to death for first-degree murder in the state of Illinois. How long their prison sentence will be is determined during a sentencing hearing. At that time, the judge would hear evidence from the prosecutor and criminal defense attorney on factors that may affect sentencing.
For example, evidence that there were aggravating or mitigating factors can increase or reduce the penalty. Several mitigating factors that may be considered include:
- Extreme emotional distress
- History of extreme emotional or physical abuse
- Reduced mental capacity
- No significant history of prior criminal activity
When You Face First Degree Murder Charges, You Want Skilled Attorneys on Your Side
If you are facing criminal prosecution for first-degree murder, you need an experienced legal team at your side. The attorneys of Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC understand the work and resources required to protect your rights. In the eyes of the law, every client is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Our legal team is tenacious and fights aggressively for our clients within the legal system. We understand how overwhelming the process can be. This is why since 1990, we have served the needs of over 20,000 clients and work hard to give each case 100 percent of our effort. We understand that no two cases are alike.
If you have been arrested or charged with first degree murder, it’s crucial that you engage the services of a skilled legal team. Call our office today at (312) 644-0444 to schedule your confidential consultation. We’ll evaluate your case and discuss your options. Your defense is in good hands with Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC.