Decatur, Illinois Homicide and Murder Lawyer
Homicide is the most serious category of criminal felony prosecuted in Illinois. Anytime a person is killed, police and prosecutors are motivated to find out who was responsible. While there are different legal degrees of homicide and murder, they all carry serious consequences if a person is ultimately tried and convicted of the charge.
Given the severity of a homicide charge, it should go without saying that a person facing such allegations should not try to navigate the criminal justice system on their own. An experienced Decatur, Illinois homicide and murder lawyer is an indispensable ally when facing the full weight of the Illinois legal system. Attorney Baku N. Patel is a former Illinois prosecutor and public defender, and together with his team at Patel Law, PC, they are fully qualified to defend clients against the most serious of murder charges in court.
How Illinois Classifies Murders & Homicides
From a legal standpoint, there are different categories of homicides, i.e., criminal acts that result in the death of a person. First-degree murder is the most serious type of criminal homicide, and in fact represents its own special class of felony under Illinois law. First-degree murder occurs when the defendant killed an individual without lawful justification under any of the following conditions:
- The defendant intended to kill or do great bodily harm to the victim;
- The defendant knew their actions created a strong probability of causing death or great bodily harm; or
- The defendant was attempting to commit or committed a forcible felony aside from second-degree murder.
This last condition is often known as “felony murder,” and it covers situations where a defendant might not have intended to kill anyone, but someone died during the commission of another felony. For example, say a person robs a liquor store. The shop owner pulls out a gun to defend themselves. The robber then pulls out their gun and shoots and kills the shop owner. This can be charged as first-degree murder in Illinois even if the robber never intended to harm anyone in the course of the robbery.
Even if the prosecution can establish all of the necessary elements of first-degree murder, the defense can still point to certain “mitigating factors” that justify a conviction on a lesser charge of second-degree murder. For example, if the defendant acted “under intense passion” arising from the victim’s provocation, or the defendant genuinely–but unreasonably–believed they were acting in self-defense, that can justify a second-degree murder conviction.
Contact Patel Law Today
Murder cases are among the most complex handled by the Illinois legal system. There is often an extensive amount of pretrial work that must be completed before a case even gets before a jury. So if you are on trial for murder, it is imperative that you are represented by a skilled Decatur, Illinois homicide and murder lawyer who understands the system intimately. Contact Patel Law, PC, today to schedule a free case evaluation with criminal defense attorney Baku N. Patel and his team.