Homicide is the killing of another human being. It is the general term that refers to any action, lawful or unlawful, intentional or unintentional, that results in another human being’s death.
Intentionally killing another human being is nearly always a criminal offense. It can be charged as manslaughter or as murder, depending on the circumstances of the case. The penalties for a manslaughter or murder conviction can be steep, so if you are facing one of these charges, it is in your best interest to develop a solid legal defense strategy with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
How an instance of alleged murder or manslaughter is charged depends on specific details of the case.
In Illinois, murder can be charged as a first or second degree felony. A first degree murder occurs when a victim is intentionally killed during the commission of another felony offense or when an individual is killed without any legal justification for the offender’s actions. An individual convicted of murder can face life in prison.
Second degree murder is defined as any intentional killing that arises out of a sudden, intense provocation or when the offender used excessive force while acting in a manner he or she believed to be legal, such as defending his or her property from an intruder. For a second degree murder conviction, an individual faces four to 20 years in prison.
Manslaughter is the involuntary killing of another human being. Though some states recognize voluntary manslaughter as a charge separate from murder, Illinois only recognizes the voluntary manslaughter of an unborn child through sudden, intense fits of passion that recklessly cause a miscarriage or when the offender intentionally causes a fetus’ death under an incorrect belief that his or her action was justified.
Involuntary manslaughter occurs when he or she accidentally causes another party’s death while engaging in a reckless activity. For example, shooting a gun near a large crowd and killing somebody in the crowd is an act of involuntary manslaughter. This offense can be charged as a Class 2 or Class 3 felony, depending on the presence of aggravating factors. Individuals convicted of this charge face a fine of up to $25,000, prison terms from two to seven years, and probation.
Your lawyer’s job is to help you defend your case against a criminal charge. Potential defenses to use to fight a homicide charge, either to demonstrate your innocence or have it downgraded to a lesser charge, include:
If you have been charged with homicide, you are facing severe penalties if you are convicted. Start fighting your charge now by scheduling your legal consultation with the Law Offices of Jonathan Minkus. During your consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, you will have the opportunity to discuss your case in detail and learn more about the criminal justice process. You will also be able to learn more about your rights and the most effective way to proceed with your case.
Senior Partner Jonathan Minkus has successfully defended individuals charged with every conceivable criminal offense, from traffic misdemeanors to death-penalty eligible homicides.