In Illinois, a person can be found guilty of attempted murder for having deliberately, intentionally or recklessly with extreme disregard for human life, attempted to kill someone by taking some substantial step toward committing the crime.
If you are charged with attempted murder, the penalties are severe and, unless there are mitigating circumstances, can result in substantial prison time. You need the best defense available, as prosecutors will be fighting to impose the steepest punishment. The seasoned Illinois criminal defense attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. have extensive experience and know that there are aspects of the attempted murder charge that may lead to a dismissal or result in a lesser offense or penalty. We offer a free consultation to examine the issues in your case and determine what we can do to help.
According to the Illinois Criminal Code, a person commits an attempt when, with intent to commit a specific offense, he or she does any act which constitutes a substantial step toward the commission of that offense.
In most jurisdictions, attempted murder charges consist of two elements:
1) Action — The offender took some action toward killing another person and did not merely prepare or plan to do so. This action often involves using a weapon and either inflicting serious wounds or attacking the chest or head areas, which are most likely to result in death. Actions may also include soliciting and paying someone to kill another person; stalking or luring someone to a location where the murder is intended to take place; and buying materials necessary to commit a murder, such as the makings of a bomb, and then attempting to commit the act.
2) Intent — The act was intended to kill someone, not just to cause serious bodily harm or disfigurement. For example, shooting a person in the head or chest is more likely to show intent than shooting someone in the leg.
Intent to murder someone may be considered as abandoned if you change your mind before taking any direct step or action — for example, if you decide not to pay someone to kill another, or you throw away materials you bought with the intent to kill.
In Illinois, attempted murder is a Class X felony which carries a sentencing range of 6 to 30 years in prison. The sentence goes up if there are aggravating factors. For example, if a firearm is involved, 15 years shall be added to the term of imprisonment, and if the firearm is discharged, 20 years shall be added. If discharging a firearm caused great bodily harm, disability, disfigurement, or death, the term could be 25 years to life
In addition, most jurisdictions have degrees of attempted murder charges. A first-degree attempted murder charge requires premeditation and carries greater penalties, up to a life sentence. A second-degree attempted murder charge is an act that is not planned or deliberate. Penalties depend on whether there was serious injury, and the sentence goes up substantially if a firearm was used or if the crime was committed by a gang member or at the direction of a criminal gang.
If you have a prior criminal record, sentences are often increased as well.
There are several approaches to defending charges of attempted murder, depending on the specifics of the case:
In general, to avoid jail, you would have to show:
If you caused great bodily harm but it can’t be proven that you were trying to kill someone, the prosecution cannot prove attempted murder.
If you or a loved one is charged with attempted murder, you need to hire the best criminal defense attorney you can find. Your case may seem impossible, but with skillful representation you have a chance. Remember, the law places a heavy burden on the government, and you have to be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The criminal defense lawyers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. are skilled trial lawyers who know that each case is unique, with its own set of circumstances. Whether your criminal law case is seemingly straightforward or highly complicated, we can help. We know the judges and the court system and will aggressively explore every avenue for your defense. We examine the facts, the individuals involved, and the evidence available, and work hand in hand with our clients throughout the criminal process. We explain all elements and processes of the case and develop an effective defense strategy. Our goal is always to minimize the negative impact of the situation and to focus on protecting your freedoms, liberties and rights.
Don’t delay — contact us for help today if you have been accused of any criminal charges. Our Illinois criminal defense lawyers represent clients in DuPage County, Naperville, Aurora, Wheaton, Downers Grove and Bolingbrook, Illinois, and the greater Chicagoland area. Your free initial consultation can be scheduled at either of our offices, in Woodridge or Chicago. Call 630-305-0222.