Call today to discuss DuPage County case
24/7 Availability

First-Degree Murder & Second-Degree Murder | DuPage County Criminal Defense Attorneys

Tell Your side of the story
Facing murder charges in DuPage County, IL? Contact Michael Schmiege an experienced criminal defense attorney 24/7 + FREE consultation.

Contact Us

Schedule your  criminal defense case consultation with Michael P. Schmiege today.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

First-Degree Murder & Second-Degree Murder | DuPage County Criminal Defense Attorneys

First-Degree Murder & Second-Degree Murder

Are You Facing Murder Charges in DuPage County, IL?

The Law Behind Murder in Illinois

Under Illinois law, there are a number of aggravating factors for first-degree murder that can result in a life prison sentence upon conviction. These include if the victim was a police officer, correctional officer, or there were two or more counts of first-degree murder. There are dozens of other aggravating factors, some of them highly uncommon like murder during a hijacking of a plane, which can also lead to an aggravated first-degree murder charge.

It should be extremely clear that any individual under investigation for or charged with first-degree murder or second-degree murder faces the possibility of extremely life-altering or even life-ending consequences. The processes included in reaching a verdict are extremely complex and should be handled by an aggressive and highly experienced attorney.

In this dire situation, it is absolutely essential that you contact a qualified lawyer as soon as possible. The longer you wait to reach out for professional legal help, the more your memory of the incident weakens and your case becomes potentially weaker as well.

What is Considered First-Degree Murder in Illinois?

The official legal definition for first-degree murder can be found under Illinois law 720 ILCS 5/9-1. First-degree murder, also known as premeditated murder, is among the most serious charges that can be leveled at a defendant.

The law is worded carefully in order to incriminate various criminal activity. An individual can be held accountable for first-degree murder if he or she kills someone with clear intentions beforehand or if he or she understands that there is a strong probability that their actions will directly result in another’s death. Additionally, a second-degree murder charge can be elevated to first-degree murder if another forcible felony is committed alongside the murder.

Penalties & Sentences for First-Degree Murder in Illinois

Illinois is no longer a death penalty state, so the maximum penalty is a life term in prison. The minimum penalty upon conviction is 20 years in a state penitentiary. However, aggravating factors can elevate that sentence 15 or more years. On the other hand, there are certain mitigating factors for first-degree murder. In other words, under certain circumstances, the sentence can be lessened to better fit the crime. If the offender was intoxicated during the event or his or judgment was impaired by mental illness, the prison sentence can be lowered.

What is Considered Second-Degree Murder in Illinois?

Second-degree murder is technically defined as first-degree murder with mitigating factors. In other words, the crime involves killing a person, but the charge is lessened when the circumstances make the act less egregious. For example, if an individual kills another in a moment of sudden and intense passion (as opposed to a premeditated plan), then the charge will be second-degree murder. Similarly, if it can be demonstrated in court that the defendant truly believed his or her actions would be justifiable, even though in reality they were not, then a first-degree murder charge can be changed to second-degree murder.

The official legal definition can be found under Illinois law 720 ILCS 5/9-2 . It is important to understand where the burdens of proof lie. It is the prosecutor’s responsibility to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that the case meets all the requirements for first-degree murder. If this is not possible, the case will be dropped. However, in the case that this is possible, the burden of proof then lies on the defendant to prove that one or more mitigating factors were present and that the charge should therefore be lessened to second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, or reckless homicide.

Penalties & Sentences for Second-Degree Murder in Illinois

Second-degree murder is a Class 1 felony, which typically carries 4-15 years in prison. However, second-degree murder convictions can result in up to 20 years in prison. Unlike first-degree murder, there is a possible alternative for 4 years of probation.

In addition to a prison sentence, a conviction may require a fine up to $25,000. After the prison sentence is completed, there will be a mandatory 2 year parole period. The difference between a 20 year prison sentence plus $25,000 in fines and 4 years of court supervision is clearly

Choosing Your Best Defense

There are certain circumstances that can lead to a first-degree murder case being dismissed outright. The act of killing is justified in some circumstances, some cases involve mistaken identity, and there are numerous strict procedures that police must follow while gather evidence. These scenarios are just a few possible ways a lawyer can defend you.

Additionally, an experienced defense attorney can fight to have the charges lessened to second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, or reckless homicide. Furthermore, if a conviction occurs, a defense lawyer can fight to have the sentence lessened, including a prison sentence, and/or fine.

Call for a Consultation with an Experienced Defense Attorney in DuPage County

Contact Michael Schmiege's nationally recognized boutique law firm for a consultation with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who will fight charges aggressively for you. We dedicate the time and resources necessary to give our clients the best possible opportunity for a favorable outcome. Aggressive, skilled legal counsel is always your best chance for a favorable outcome when your future is in jeopardy. Call a qualified defense attorney at our firm immediately to ensure you have strong legal representation in your case.

We serve DuPage County, including the cities of Wheaton, Naperville, Aurora, Westmont, Oak Brook, and Lombard. Give your future the best chance with our highly skilled defense strategies and understanding of prosecutor tactics.

Recent Verdicts and Settlements

Michael Schmiege has experience with murder cases and our award-winning criminal defense attorneys deliver unparalleled results. Read more about our recent verdicts and case victories in DuPage County.

best felony defense lawyer in chicaco

Dupage County IL - Criminal Defense Related content

We Are a Highly recommended Will county criminal defense law firm

We are the best criminal defense attorney in Dupage county for your case

when your freedom, reputation, and future are at stake contact us

Our criminal defense practice areas

contact our attorneys with any questions you may Have. We can defend most any criminal charges in the chicago area.

More Criminal Defense Practice Areas
Copyright 2019 The Law Offices of Michael P. Schmiege. All Rights Reserved. | Site Design by Law Firm Innovations