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Chicago First Degree Murder Lawyer

Experienced Lawyers for First-Degree Murder in Chicago

The criminal justice system can be intimidating to navigate, even if a person is facing relatively minor charges. However, in serious cases involving violent crimes such as murder, defendants can be treated very harshly, and prosecutors will often pursue severe penalties for those who are convicted. Even though all defendants are supposed to be treated as if they are innocent until they are proven guilty beyond all reasonable doubt, many people face an uphill battle as they struggle to prove their innocence. Since first degree murder is one of the most serious offenses a person can be charged with, it is crucial for anyone in this situation to secure representation from an attorney who can protect their rights and help them build a strong defense.

At the Law Offices of James F. DiQuattro, our criminal defense lawyer is highly experienced in cases involving violent offenses such as homicide, aggravated assault, or vehicular hijacking. We understand the intricacies of these cases and the defenses that may be raised, including the mitigating circumstances that may allow for a reduction of charges. With our knowledge of the specific laws that apply in murder cases and our familiarity with local courts and prosecutors in Chicago and Cook County, we can build an effective defense strategy. With our experienced attorney by your side, you can rest assured that your case will be handled correctly.

Potential Penalties for a First Degree Murder Conviction

First degree murder generally involves the intentional killing of someone without justification. A person may be charged with this offense if they intended to cause someone's death or intentionally acted in a way that they knew was likely to lead to death or great bodily harm. First degree murder charges may also apply if a person caused someone else's death while committing or attempting to commit a forcible felony such as criminal sexual assault, robbery, burglary, aggravated battery, or other violent felony offenses.

In general, a conviction on first degree murder charges is punishable by a prison sentence of between 20 and 60 years. In the past, a person could potentially be sentenced to death if certain aggravating factors were involved in a case. However, Illinois abolished the death penalty in 2011, and these factors may now result in a sentence of life in prison. A life sentence may be pursued by prosecutors in the following situations:

  • The victim was a police officer, a firefighter, an emergency medical technician, a correctional officer or employee.
  • The victim was a teacher or school employee who was on the grounds of a school at the time of the murder.
  • The victim was a member of a religious congregation who was engaging in religious activities at a church, temple, mosque, or other religious building at the time of the murder.
  • The victim was a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional who was allegedly killed in retaliation for performing medical services or to prevent them from performing medical services.
  • The victim was under the age of 12 or over the age of 60, and the defendant's actions were considered to be brutal, cruel, or heinous.
  • The victim had a permanent physical or mental impairment.
  • The defendant allegedly killed someone in a calculated and premeditated manner or committed murder while engaging in torture.
  • The murder was allegedly connected to an act of terrorism.
  • The defendant allegedly killed two or more people as part of the same act or through related or unrelated acts.
  • The victim was killed during the hijacking of a plane, bus, train, or other form of public transportation.
  • The defendant agreed to accept money or something of value in return for killing someone.
  • While committing another "inherently violent crime" such as armed robbery or predatory criminal sexual assault, the defendant killed someone or inflicted fatal injuries with the knowledge that their actions were likely to result in death or great bodily harm.
  • The defendant allegedly committed murder with the intent of preventing someone from testifying in a criminal trial.
  • The defendant allegedly killed someone or induced another person to kill someone while engaging in drug trafficking or a criminal drug conspiracy.
  • While the defendant was incarcerated and while engaging in another felony offense, they allegedly killed someone or induced someone else to commit murder.
  • The murder was committed by intentionally firing a gun at someone from inside a vehicle.
  • The defendant was subject to an order of protection in a domestic violence case and allegedly killed a person named in the order, such as an ex-spouse or another family member.

Contact Our Cook County First Degree Murder Defense Attorney

It is imperative for anyone facing murder charges to seek experienced legal counsel. At our law firm, we understand the seriousness of these types of charges, and we will do everything possible to protect your rights and freedom. Contact us today at 312-627-9482 to arrange a free initial consultation so that we can get started building your defense strategy right away.

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