IL defense lawyerDr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that “violence only begets more violence. It is a never-ending cycle.” While true, some people do take the life of another person for countless reasons.

While killing another person is considered the most atrocious offense one person could commit, the law does not see all killings the same. The law classifies homicides based on the offender’s state of mind during the commission of the act. Illinois law is no different.

If you are facing homicide charges, you need a Chicago criminal defense lawyer to defend these heinous charges levied against you.

Murder versus Manslaughter

Illinois law does make a distinction between first-degree and second-degree murder. In first-degree murder, the defendant must have an intent to kill. First-degree murder requires either planning (premeditation) or an intent to cause great bodily harm.

If there are certain mitigating factors, the charge may be reduced from first-degree to second-degree murder. Second-degree murder may entail a killing in the heat of the moment, like if the defendant intended to kill another person but killed the victim instead.