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What Are the Options For Defending Against Attempted Murder Charges in Illinois?

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Plainfield, IL violent crimes defense lawyerMurder is one of the most serious of all violent crimes. A person accused of taking the life of another person faces the possibility of life in prison. Even the accusation of an attempt to kill someone can result in serious punishments. In Illinois, there is a fine line between assault charges and attempted murder charges. However, they are very different in the severity of their punishments.

What Is the Difference Between Assault and Attempted Murder?

Assault is defined as the threat of inflicting bodily harm or offensive physical contact upon another person. This can be an action as simple as forcefully shoving someone or as serious as threatening someone else with a firearm. If convicted of simple assault, the punishment is a Class C misdemeanor resulting in a prison term of up to 30 days and a $1,500 fine.

Attempted murder is similar to assault in terms of the definitions of the two crimes. The difference in the crimes comes when a person knowingly takes a substantial step toward the killing of another person. In order to be charged with attempted murder, intent to kill must be proven beyond a doubt. If convicted, attempted murder is a Class X felony punishable by a prison term ranging from 20 to 80 years. Punishments can also be increased depending on the crime:

  • If the crime occurs with a firearm, 15 years will be added to the prison sentence.

  • If the firearm is discharged during an attempted murder, 20 years will be added to the prison sentence.

  • If the discharging of the firearm results in bodily harm, but not death, to the victim of the attempted murder, 25 years will be added to the term, or the offender will be imprisoned for a natural life term.

  • The charges become a Class 1 felony when the offender is proven to have caused the death of another person by accidental means.

Defense Strategies

After being charged with attempted murder, an offender will have several different ways they may be able to avoid a conviction. They will have to prove that they never had the intent to take the life of the victim in the case. This could reduce the charge to simple assault.

An offender can also attempt to prove the crime was:

  • An act of self-defense, in that the offender had to fight back to protect his or her own life.

  • In defense of other persons involved in the incident.

  • An exercise of duty by a law enforcement officer.

  • An act of insanity, and the incident would not have occurred if the offender was in the right state of mind.

Contact a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or someone you know is facing attempted murder charges, the consequences of a conviction can be life-altering. The first step you should take is to secure experienced legal representation. The Law Office of Tedone & Morton, P.C. will carefully review the circumstances surrounding your case and help you minimize the potential consequences by planning an appropriate defense. To schedule a free consultation with a Will County violent crimes attorney, call 815-666-1285.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=21100000&SeqEnd=23000000

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K8-4

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