Belleville Murder Attorney

A Murder Charge Threatens Everything - Allow Our Defense Team To Shoulder Your Burden

We're Your Shield, Advocating for Justice with Compassion and Tenacity.

If state prosecutors have charged you or a loved one with murder in Illinois, you need solid legal representation to avoid excessively harsh penalties.

Do not take murder charges lightly under any circumstances. Even accusations with mitigating factors or in self-defense can lead to decades behind bars or massive fines without an attorney advocating for your rights.

Our team of attorneys dedicates our practice exclusively to representing people who have been charged, arrested, or investigated for a crime. We pursue every angle of defense to build your most robust case. Through exhaustive case analysis, we aim to prove innocence, establish reasonable doubt, or reduce charges.

Don’t leave your future alone in the hands of overzealous prosecutors. Contact our Metro East murder defense lawyers for a case review now.

Murder Charges and Penalties in St. Clair County, IL

Illinois categorizes murder into different degrees with varying penalties based on circumstances:

First Degree Murder

First-degree murder applies when someone intentionally kills an individual without lawful justification. This includes taking actions that:

  • The defendant intends to kill or seriously injure someone
  • The defendant knows are likely to cause someone’s death
  • Occur during committing or attempting a dangerous felony that results in death

The statute establishes first-degree murder as the most serious homicide offense under Illinois law. Potential penalties upon conviction include prison sentences ranging from 20 years to life.

Key factors that increase minimum sentences are committing murder in combination with another felony crime or killing a peace officer or firefighter performing official duties. Due to the premeditated nature of first-degree murder, the statute authorizes harsher punishment than other unjustified killings under state laws.

Second Degree Murder

Section 720 ILCS 5/9-2 covers second-degree murder charges in Illinois.

The primary distinction from first degree is the presence of mitigating circumstances involved in the criminal act, such as:

  • The defendant was provoked to violence by the victim
  • The defendant negligently or accidentally caused death while acting under provocation
  • The defendant incorrectly believed circumstances justified using self-defense, resulting in the death

While a defendant charged under this section committed offenses meeting the elements of first-degree murder, the mitigating factors regarding their mindset or provocation justify lesser felony classification and penalties. Second-degree murder is a Class 1 Felony under 720 ILCS 5/9-2, carrying a prison sentence of 4-20 years upon conviction.

Involuntary Manslaughter

Section 720 ILCS 5/9-3 defines involuntary manslaughter under Illinois criminal law. This applies when someone unintentionally kills an individual without lawful justification by acting recklessly in a manner likely to cause death or great bodily harm.

Involuntary manslaughter is a Class 3 Felony and carries a prison sentence ranging from 2-5 years.

Reckless Homicide

Section 720 ILCS 5/9-3 of Illinois statutes defines the offense of reckless homicide. This applies when someone unintentionally kills another individual by recklessly operating a vehicle, resulting in death.

Potential prosecuting circumstances include:

  • Causing death by driving dangerously over the speed limit
  • Causing death by violating DUI or traffic laws
  • Causing death by recklessly making a vehicle airborne

Reckless homicide is classified as a Class 3 Felony. Upon conviction under 720 ILCS 5/9-3, sentences involve a prison term ranging from 2-5 years. Additional penalties apply if aggravating factors are involved, such as committing this offense in a school zone or construction zone.

Drug-Induced Homicide

Section 720 ILCS 5/9-3.3 establishes the charge of drug-induced homicide. This applies to unlawfully delivering or distributing controlled substances to another person whose death is consequently caused by ingesting or absorbing the drugs.

Drug-induced homicide is a Class X Felony charge, carrying a minimum 15-year prison sentence, extending up to 60 years. Enhanced penalties are possible for delivering substances like heroin and fentanyl.

Defending Against Murder Charges in Metro East, Illinois

At Rose Legal Services, we regularly represent individuals accused of serious crimes like homicide.

We take an individualized approach, learning the unique details of each client’s criminal charges to customize a defense highlighting the most compelling arguments for innocence or mitigation.

When facing criminal homicide charges like first-degree murder in Illinois, possible defense strategies include:

Self-Defense Arguments

If applicable, given the case circumstances, asserting that the defendant’s use of deadly force was justified can lead to full exoneration. The criteria for lawful self-defense involve imminent threat of death/injury, reasonable belief force was necessary, and proportional force used in response.

Diminished Mental Capacity

Showing the defendant suffered from a mental disease or defect at the time of the crime or lacked the ability to control behaviors or understand consequences due to cognitive deficits could lead to “guilty but mentally ill” or unfit to stand trial outcomes.

Provocation Mitigation

Arguing legally adequate provocation from the victim occurred, causing temporary intense passion and loss of reason, which could secure reduced charges.

Sentencing Mitigation

If a full exoneration of charges is not possible, defense attorneys can still argue for lower sentences. Your attorney would present mitigating factors about the defendant, such as:

  • Difficult background
  • Mental health struggles
  • Lack of criminal record before this case
  • Genuine remorse, and
  • Likelihood of rehabilitation

These types of arguments aim to convince the judge to issue reduced sentences.

The appropriate defense tactic depends on the individual charges and case details. Consulting with experienced criminal defense attorneys in Illinois will help determine how to build the strongest defense. Oftentimes, layered arguments combine several strategies.

Our Belleville Connections and Local Experience

Illinois homicide laws allow prosecutors to seek serious penalties depending on motives and circumstances. We know these intricate details and use them to our clients’ advantage.

Our strong working relationships with courts, judges, and more in the Metro East area facilitate building arguable defenses quickly. Beware of criminal defense lawyers attempting to take on serious violent crimes without context for St. Clair County’s legal landscape.

Contact Rose Legal Services Today

If accused of homicide, every moment without legal guidance jeopardizes your future. Don’t delay defending your rights. Schedule a consultation to discuss the next steps.

Frequently Asked Questions

Illinois categorizes murder into first-degree murder, second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, and reckless homicide based on intent, circumstances, and mitigating factors. Penalties range from years to life in prison.

If criteria for lawful self-defense are met, including imminent danger and reasonable belief that force was necessary, killing an attacker can be legally justified under Illinois law.

Involuntary manslaughter involves unintentionally causing death by committing reckless acts likely to cause harm or death. It carries lower sentences than intentional murder.

Invoke your right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions without an attorney present. What you say can be used against you, so do not make or sign any statements without counsel.

An experienced defense lawyer understands prosecution strategies and can vigorously contest charges using investigation flaws, mental defenses, and sentencing mitigation to potentially reduce convictions.

The State accused me of 3 felonies that someone else committed. I hired Scott, and he got the charges dismissed!

Scott, have helped me throughout this whole process mentally. You are really amazing – I thank you so much for helping me!

Mr. Rose really helped me out with a difficult situation. He was great to work with and worked hard to get me a good outcome. I would definitely recommend him to others.