Chicago Murder Attorney

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the murder rate in Illinois was 5.8 per 100,000 people in 2015. While less common than most crimes, murder is one of the most harshly punished offenses, with penalties including fines, decades spent in prison, and even life behind bars. In most cases, the penalties for this crime are based on the specific circumstances of each case.

If you have been accused of murder, you need to seek the help of a skilled Chicago violent crimes attorney immediately. Public defenders may not be able to provide you with adequate representation during your lengthy and complex trial. Most of these lawyers only have a few minutes to spend on each case, and usually, the best they can do is to slightly reduce your sentence. Chicago murder attorney Michael O’Meara has over 20 years of experience advocating for the rights of the accused in the courtroom. He will take the time that is needed to help your case reach the best possible outcome.

To find out how you can avoid the harsh penalties of a murder conviction, call 312-909-0706 now.

What’s the Difference Between First- and Second-Degree Murder

The intentional killing of a human being can be placed into one of two categories. First-degree murder is the more serious of the two and involves killing with the intention of doing great bodily harm. Another element of this offense is the assailant knowing that their actions could result in another person’s death. A homicide is also classified as first-degree murder when the perpetrator kills someone while attempting to commit another felony, such as battery or rape.

While second-degree murder is less serious than first-degree murder, it involves many of the same components. For example, both crimes involve the intent to kill and the knowledge that certain actions are likely to result in death. The only difference is that second-degree murder contains one of two mitigating circumstances. A homicide might be classified as second-degree murder if the attacker acted in the heat of the moment, or if the murder resulted from an intense provocation. Second-degree murder might also result from the mistaken use of self-defense.

Consequences of a Murder Conviction

In any murder case, the penalties depend on the presence of aggravating and mitigating factors. Aggravating factors are elements in a case that cause the crime to be more severe. If for example, the victim of a murder is a child or a police officer, the penalties would be far harsher. Mitigating factors, on the other hand, may lessen criminal consequences. Mitigating factors in a murder case might be the mistaken belief that you were acting in self-defense.

Bearing in mind the potential effect of mitigating and aggravating factors, the penalties for murder under Illinois law break down as follows:

  • First-Degree Murder (Unclassified)– A fine of up to $25,000 and between 20 years and life in prison
  • Second-Degree Murder (Class 1 felony) – A fine of up to $25,000 and between four and 20 years in state prison.

If you are convicted of murder and imprisoned, you will still face consequences upon your release:

  • Inability to find a job because of your serious criminal record
  • Disqualification from many professions requiring a license
  • Inability to collect certain forms of housing and food assistance
  • Barring from owning or possessing firearms
  • For non-citizens, likely deportation

How O’Meara Law Can Protect Your Rights

Because of the harsh criminal penalties and collateral consequences of a murder conviction, you should spare no expense in the defense of your case. Chicago murder attorney Michael O’Meara may be able to use one or more defenses on your behalf. Perhaps you did not intend to kill the victim, or maybe you suffer from a psychological disorder that causes violent behavior. There may also be evidence that you were acting out of self-defense.

Call 312-909-0706 today to learn more about how you can fight your murder charges.