Are you facing criminal charges for attempted murder? Murder is one of the most serious crimes in Illinois, and an attempt to commit this crime will not be taken lightly. You have the ability to fight the criminal charges against you, and the Kostopoulos Law Group can help. Call our Chicago criminal defense attorneys today to schedule a free consultation and learn more. We will review your case, determine the best strategy for your defense, and explain your rights.
What is Attempted Murder?
In Illinois, it is a crime to attempt to kill another person. What constitutes an attempt? Illinois law defines an “attempt” in 720 ILCS 5/8-4 as committing:
- “any act that constitutes a substantial step toward the commission of that offense.”
When you commit this substantial step you must also have the intent to commit that specific offense. So, you can face charges for attempted murder when you have the specific intent to kill another person without lawful justification and take a substantial step in committing the crime. Planning a murder or simply gathering items to complete the murder will not be sufficient to satisfy the “substantial step” element of the crime.
The intent behind your behavior is incredibly important. There are many acts which, when committed, could be considered a “substantial step” toward killing another person. However, these acts may or may not be committed with the required intent to kill. Firing a weapon, stabbing, or administering poison could all be considered “substantial steps” in committing a murder.
But, if you shoot someone in the foot, stab them in the arm, or only administer enough poison to make them sick, those behaviors may not indicate that you have an intent to kill. These behaviors are still criminal acts, but may not rise to the level of attempted murder. On the other hand, pointing a gun at someone’s head or chest and pulling the trigger, thrusting a knife toward a vital organ, or administering enough poison to kill a horse would indicate an intent to kill.
Degrees of Attempted Murder
When you face charges for attempted murder the crime will be designed with a degree. This degree will correlate to the seriousness of the crime you attempted to commit.
Attempted First Degree Murder
You can face charges for attempted first degree murder if you act with the intent to kill another person, and:
- The act was premeditated and planned, and/or
- You knew or should have known that the act was likely to cause death.
Attempted first degree murder is a Class X Felony offense in Illinois, punishable by 6-30 years in prison and $25,000 in fines. When attempted first degree murder is committed with aggravating factors, the terms of imprisonment will be extended. Aggravating factors include:
- The targeted victim was a peace officer, firefighter, or corrections officer acting in an official capacity (20-80 years in prison);
- An attempt to commit first degree murder with a firearm (additional 15 years in prison);
- An attempt to commit first degree murder by discharging a firearm (additional 20 years in prison);
- An attempt to commit first degree murder by discharging a firearm and causing great bodily harm, disfigurement, or disability (25 years to life in prison).
Attempted Second Degree Murder
Any attempt to kill another person that is not premeditated or planned is a Class 1 Felony, punishable by 4-15 years in prison and $25,000 in fines. Attempts to kill another person in a fit of rage or passion will be classified as attempted second-degree murder.
Defending Attempted Murder Charges in Chicago
When you are charged with attempted murder in Chicago you have the right to defend yourself. The best way to defend yourself against these charges is by hiring an attorney to assert any legal argument that explains or justifies your alleged behavior. When these arguments are persuasive the prosecution will have a difficult time proving that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This will increase the chances of securing a plea deal or getting the charges against you dismissed.
Defenses that may be helpful in your Chicago attempted murder case include:
- You lacked the required intent to kill another person;
- Your conduct did not constitute a “substantial step” toward committing the crime;
- Your behavior was not premeditated or planned;
- You acted in self-defense or the defense of another person; or
- You have been falsely accused or mistakenly identified.
Fighting Criminal Charges for Attempted Murder
Attempted murder is one of the most serious crimes in Chicago. If you are convicted your life will be changed forever. In addition to significant time in prison, you will also be burdened with a criminal record for the rest of your life. This means that once you are released from prison you will face incredible challenges in your everyday life.
As a former prosecutor, Gus Kostopoulos understands the challenges in proving charges of attempted murder. He uses his insight and experience as a prosecutor to create powerful and persuasive defenses for his clients. This makes it even more difficult for the state to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. His approach allows him to secure the best possible outcome for his clients and, in many cases, he is able to get the charges reduced or dismissed.
If you are facing criminal charges for attempted murder call the Kostopoulos Law Group today to schedule a free consultation. We will review your case, explain your rights, and answer any questions you have.