Murder and Accidental Death

Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney John D. Ioakimidis

If you are being falsely accused of killing someone or causing a death my accident or by acting in the “heat of the moment,” your life is in jeopardy because the prosecutor will do whatever legally possible to convict you and send you to the State penitentiary. A strong and aggressive legal defense is the only thing standing in-between you and a jail cell. There have been dozens of people released from jail and death row for being wrongfully convicted. The criminal justice system has failed many people. Nationally recognized criminal defense attorney John D. Ioakimidis has been defending criminal cases throughout Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County and Lake County for over 23 years with great results. As a veteran litigator, he has developed a reputation for successfully defending his clients.

What is First Degree Murder?

In Illinois, under 720 ILCS 5/9-1, a person commits first-degree murder if he kills someone without legal justification or when someone is killed during of the commission of a felony that includes force. For example, you can be charged with First Degree Murder if, during a robbery, someone is killed. The sentence for first-degree murder is 20 years at a minimum and can be extend to a maximum of 60 years. In cases where there are aggravating factors like killing a police officer, the sentence can be extended to 60 years to life in prison. Unlike other felonies, the entire sentence for Murder must be served, and there is no credit given for “good time” while in prison. After the State of Illinois released several innocent people on death row, the death penalty was eliminated. Unfortunately, judging from how many innocent people were released, it is highly likely that innocent people have been executed in Illinois and across the nation.

What is Second Degree Murder?

Second Degree Murder is committed when you kill someone while acting under a sudden and intense passion from a serious provocation. This type of murder is often referred to as “Heat of Passion” murder. An example would be a wife walking into her bedroom to find her husband in bed with a lover.

You can also be charged with Second Degree Murder if you kill someone mistakably believing that you had a right to do so. For example, using excessive force in defending yourself or killing someone for just trespassing in your backyard. However, you can be exonerated if you reasonably believed that you were defending yourself or another person from death or serious bodily injury. Second Degree Murder is a Class 1 Felony that carries a potential sentence of 4 to 20 years in prison. However, in certain circumstances, probation for 4 years is also available.

What is Involuntary Manslaughter?

Involuntary manslaughter is usually charged when someone kills someone unintentionally while acting completely recklessly. The conduct must be beyond an ordinary mistake. If it’s just a mistake, often there are no criminal charges filed whatsoever. However, if you shoot your gun near a crowd of people and someone accidentally gets killed, those kinds of facts give rise to an Involuntary Manslaughter charge. In situations where a person’s reckless conduct causes a death, absent any aggravating factors, Involuntary Manslaughter is a Class 3 felony and probation is an alternative to a jail sentence. The reason that the law doesn’t mandate jail for involuntary manslaughter is that although there is a death, there was no specific intent to kill anyone.

What is Reckless Homicide?

Reckless homicide is charged when a person kills someone while driving a car, snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle or watercraft recklessly. An example would be driving your car 100 mph in a school zone and someone is accidentally killed. Reckless Homicide is Class 3 felony under Illinois law and carries a jail sentence of three to five years in the state penitentiary system. Probation, just like in Reckless Homicide and Involuntary Manslaughter, is a possible sentence as an alternative to jail.

Highly Experienced Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are being falsely accused of murder or have killed someone by accident or in the “heat of the moment” you need solid legal advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney. You need a legal strategy that will give the best possibility of winning your case or mitigating the consequences. For over 23 years, award-winning criminal defense lawyer John D. Ioakimidis has presented individuals charged with serious criminal cases in Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, Will County and Lake County. He understands the applicable laws, rules of evidence and sentencing range between First Degree Murder, Second Degree Murder, Involuntary Manslaughter or Reckless Homicide. To discuss your case, call us 312-229-5500 for a free and confidential consultation.