Violent Crime Criminal Defense

Understanding Violent Crime Criminal Defense

Violent Crimes are generally the most severely punished crimes. Violent crimes and violent offenses such as murder, attempt murder, armed robbery, aggravated robbery, aggravated battery, and home invasion are serious offenses that require the utmost care to litigate because they all involve a victim that was seriously harmed. Violent offenses also include other serious breaches that may not involve an injured victim such as armed habitual criminal, burglary, and possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

Often times in charges for violent crimes hinge upon identification evidence whether that is identification by an eyewitness or identification by other means such as DNA, hair samples, the readily-debunked bite mark identification, or through a lineup or photo array. All of this identification evidence has issues that prosecutors must resolve to prove their case and a skilled defense attorney can establish reasonable doubt based upon issues related to identification such as the eyewitness’s opportunity to observe, errors made by law enforcement in gathering evidence, or errors made by state employed forensic scientists in analyzing the evidence gathered by the police.

Why Is Homicide A Violent Crime?

Homicide is not a separate crime; rather, it is a manner of death based upon the expert opinion of a physician typically a forensic medical examiner. In other words, homicide is simply the killing of a person by another person. Homicide includes intentional killings like first-degree murder, second-degree murder; killings where intent does not matter such as felony murder, aggravated DUI causing death, reckless homicide, and negligent homicide; and it includes justified killings based upon self-defense or other affirmative defenses.

First-degree murder is the unjustified killing of a person by a person who intends to kill or do great bodily harm or knows or should know that his or her actions will cause death. The sentence for first-degree murder is between 20 years to natural life imprisonment. A person convicted of first-degree must serve 100 percent of the sentence and is not entitled to any day-for-day sentencing credits.

Felony murder is usually grouped with first-degree murder. Felony murder is unlawful killing that occurs during a “forcible felony” other than second-degree murder.

Previously known as voluntary manslaughter, second-degree murder is essentially first-degree murder with the addition of certain mitigating factors that lessens the severity of the still unjustified killing. A conviction for second-degree requires the prosecution to establish beyond a reasonable the elements for first-degree murder and then it is upon the defendant to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she was under “serious provocation” at the time of the killing or that he or she acted under an unreasonable belief that the killing was justified.

Second-degree murder is a Class 1 Felony eligible for probation and day-for-day credit.

Involuntary manslaughter is an unintentional and an unjustified killing. Involuntary manslaughter encompasses all reckless conduct whether lawful or unlawful that is likely to cause death or great bodily harm. Reckless homicide and involuntary manslaughter are essentially the same crime the only difference being that involuntary manslaughter does not involve a vehicle such as a car or boat.

A skilled defense attorney hired in any violent crime case can establish reasonable doubt based upon issues related to identification such as the eyewitness’s opportunity to observe, errors made by law enforcement in gathering evidence, or errors made by state employed forensic scientists in analyzing the evidence gathered by the police.

Why Are Sex Crimes Violent Criminal Offenses?

Sex offenses such as aggravated criminal sexual assault or criminal sexual abuse are some of the most heinous offenses often involving heart-wrenching testimony from the victim. As such, the potential sentences available upon a finding of guilty can be decades of imprisonment. Aside from lengthy prison sentences, a conviction for a sex crime in Illinois often results in sex offender registration

Colloquially known as rape, criminal sexual assault is any sexual penetration combined with the use force or threat of force; or knows that the victim is unable to understand the nature of the act or is unable to give knowing consent; or is a family member of the victim, and the victim is under 18 years of age or is 17 years of age or over and holds a position of trust, authority, or supervision in relation to the victim, and the victim is at least 13 years of age but under 18 years of age. Criminal sexual assault is found at 720 ILCS 5/11-1.20

Criminal sexual assault is a Class 1 offense but can be a Class X offense based upon prior convictions for other sex offenses such as exploitation of a child or based upon having prior criminal sexual assault convictions. A natural life sentence is available based upon prior sex offense convictions such as aggravated criminal sexual assault or the offense of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child.

Criminal sexual assault becomes aggravated criminal sexual assault based upon certain aggravating factors such as use of a firearm or other weapon or based upon the age, status, or condition of the victim. Aggravated criminal sexual assault is codified at 720 ILCS 5/11-1.30. Aggravated criminal sexual assault is a Class X offense and like criminal sexual assault is non-probationable meaning that a prison sentence is the only option available after a conviction. Aggravated criminal sexual assault also a minimum of a 10-year addition to any sentence imposed and that mandatory enhancement can be up to 25-years.

Criminal sexual abuse is any act of sexual conduct by the use or threatened use of force or if the victim is unable to understand the nature of the sexual conduct or unable to give consent. Criminal sexual abuse also can occur based upon the age of the offender and the victim. Criminal sexual abuse occurs when the defendant is under 17 -years of age and the victim is between the ages of 9 and 17. Criminal sexual abuse also occurs when the victim is between the ages of 13 and 17 and the offender is less than 5 years older than the victim.

Criminal sexual abuse can be a misdemeanor when the crime is based upon the age of the victim and a Class 4 felony when it is based upon the use of force or the ability of the victim to understand or give consent. Criminal Sexual abuse is found at 720 ILCS 5/11-1.50.

Similar to how criminal sexual assault becomes aggravated when certain factors are present and proven beyond a reasonable doubt, criminal sexual abuse becomes aggravated criminal sexual abuse when certain aggravating factors are present. Aggravated criminal sexual abuse is a Class 2 Felony that is probationable. Aggravated criminal sexual abuse is found at 720 ILCS 5/11-1.60.

The crime of child pornography is found at 720 ILCS 5/11-20.1. Child pornography whether it is possession of child pornography or production or dissemination of child pornography is a very serious offense. The crux of all child pornography cases usually is knowledge that the video depicts someone under the age of 18. Child pornography laws punish not only actual knowledge but it also punishes willful ignorance that the video depicts a minor or someone with a disability.

Child pornography can be charged as low as a Class 3 Felony that is probationable and as severely as a Class X offense.

When Does Robbery Fall Under Violent Crime?

Robbery which is found at 720 ILCS 5/18-1 is any knowing taking of property except a motor vehicle, which is separately charged as vehicular hijacking or aggravated vehicle hijacking, by the use of force or the threatened use of imminent force. In Illinois, robbery can either be aggravated robbery or armed robbery.

Armed robbery which is codified at 720 ILCS 5/18-2 is a robbery when the person is armed with a dangerous weapon or a firearm. Armed robbery is a Class 1 offense if the weapon is not a firearm and a Class X felony if the offender is armed with a firearm. The sentence for armed robbery can be up to natural life if during the robbery the offender personally discharges a firearm that causes death, disfigurement, or great bodily harm.

Felony murder is usually grouped with first-degree murder. Felony murder is unlawful killing that occurs during a “forcible felony” other than second-degree murder.

Previously known as voluntary manslaughter, second-degree murder is essentially first-degree murder with the addition of certain mitigating factors that lessens the severity of the still unjustified killing. A conviction for second-degree requires the prosecution to establish beyond a reasonable the elements for first-degree murder and then it is upon the defendant to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she was under “serious provocation” at the time of the killing or that he or she acted under an unreasonable belief that the killing was justified.

Second-degree murder is a Class 1 Felony eligible for probation and day-for-day credit.

Car jacking is known in Illinois as vehicular hijacking, which is codified at 720 ILCS 5/18-3. Vehicular hijacking occurs when a person knowingly takes a motor vehicle from another person or the immediate presence another person by the use or threatened use of imminent force. Vehicular hijacking is a Class 1 felony.

Vehicular hijacking becomes aggravated vehicular hijacking based upon the age of the victim or the age of the victim’s passengers. Aggravated vehicular hijacking also occurs when the car jacking occurs while the offender is armed with a dangerous weapon or a firearm. All of the aggravating factors that turn vehicular hijacking into aggravated hijacking can be found at 720 ILCS 5/18-4

Aggravated vehicular hijacking is a Class X offense and it can be punished as severely as natural life if the accused personally discharges a firearm that causes death or great bodily harm.

No matter what your criminal charge is, we are here to help,being charged with a Violent Criminal is a life altering event and a qualified Defense Attorney can make sure that you spend your time out of jail and with your loved ones.

Jaleel Law P.C.

1550 Spring Road, Suite 120

Oak Brook, Illinois  60523

United States (US)

Phone: 630-360-2LAW (2529)
Fax: 630-504-2107
Email: info@defenseadvocates.com

Areas We Serve

Centrally located in Du Page County we represent clients in trial and appellate courts throughout Illinois including the counties of Cook County, Du Page County; Will County, and Kane County. We have won on behalf of clients at the Daley Center; 26th and California; Bridgeview; Skokie; Rolling Meadows; Maywood; Markham; and all the branch courts in Chicago; and the Northern District of Illinois along with all five Illinois Appellate Courts and the federal circuit court of appeals.