The state of Illinois defines attempted murder as an unsuccessful, but deliberate, attempt to kill another person. The language sounds pretty straightforward, but there’s a lot of technical ground to cover and issues to consider before managing a defense against the charge.
To better understand where attempted murder charges can lead, here are a few things you need to keep in mind:
Illinois state legislation
Attempted murder entails taking steps to intentionally take another person’s life. The law states that a defense is unusable if circumstances might have made it impossible to go through with the attempt.
Attempted murder is a Class X felony and the minimum sentence is 20 years. Furthermore, the law can tack on other charges. If your attempt involved a firearm or you broke into a residence, the court may add additional charges to the docket, which could increase prison time. Discharging a weapon or causing bodily harm could result in up to another 25 years in prison.
The most important factors in an attempted murder case are:
The defense can argue there was no intention to kill a person, despite bodily harm or other circumstances that suggest attempted murder. This strategy might lead to a less serious charge or even get the case dismissed entirely.
The planning or premeditation that went into the crime can impact how the court and jury perceive its severity. A defense team can argue for lesser charges by establishing a disturbed emotional state or enraged feelings. The court may consider circumstances that involve spontaneity or momentary inability to control emotions and actions.
Attempted homicide as a result of severe duress is a viable defense. The train of thought may lead to a lesser charge like attempted manslaughter. Manslaughter is a charge that argues a defendant killed or almost killed a person without malice or forethought.
Awareness of actions that could lead to another person’s death
The law sees awareness in a different light than premeditation. Awareness is having the information you need to make a decision and developing action in response, the implication being that you had the opportunity to stop yourself. The prosecution may argue you could’ve prevented criminal behavior and chose not to.