Justifiable Homicide in Illinois

Illinois criminal defense attorney, second degree murder, homicide, In certain circumstances, homicide is justified when it prevents greater harm to innocents. A homicide can only be justified if there is sufficient evidence to prove that the deceased, if not stopped, posed an imminent threat to the life of others.

For an act of murder to become a justifiable homicide, one must prove objectively to a judge, beyond all reasonable doubt, that the deceased intended imminent harm. In this instance, a homicide is blameless. It is also distinct from the much stricter criteria authorizing use of deadly force in a “stand your ground” defense.

Definitions of Justifiable Homicide

Homicide is only justified under the following conditions as decided by a court of law:

  • When committed in self defense;
  • When committed for the purpose of preventing a violent or forcible felony involving danger to life or of great bodily harm; or
  • When committed by a person inside a dwelling, place of business, or motor vehicle when defending the same from an unlawful intruder.

How Justifiable Homicide Is Different From Manslaughter?

Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being but done without malice. For example, a car crash where a person is killed as the result of another driver is not an act of taking a life on purpose and is an example of involuntary manslaughter. Voluntary manslaughter, where there was no intent to kill, is often also referred to a crime of passion.

How Is Justifiable Homicide Different Than Murder?

Murder is the premeditated act of taking another person’s life. It does not require anything but a plan to kill the victim to qualify. Time to create this plan is not relevant. When there is a lack of premeditated intent but intention, charges may become reduced to less than first degree murder, although this is also still different from justifiable homicide.

Wrongful Death Charges

Homicides can also be considered wrongful deaths and can be the subject of civil lawsuits. The family of the victim may also sue the alleged perpetrator to collect damages for the death of a loved one. Wrongful death lawsuits offer monetary compensation rather than criminal punishment and they also have a lower standard of proof than a criminal standard of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Regardless of the situation, when involved in such matters, it is absolutely critical to seek qualified legal counsel. The death of another human being, no matter how it is caused, attracts the most serious attention of law enforcement and the criminal justice system.

If you have been accused of homicide or murder, you will need a qualified Chicago criminal defense attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney for a solid defense in your case.

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