Murder charges are some of the most serious criminal charges a person can face in the state of Illinois. Whether you face charges of murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, or manslaughter, you always face serious possible consequences that often result in substantial prison time if you are convicted. If you believe you are under suspicion of any type of murder charge, you should always call experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney Steven Goldman for help as soon as possible so that he may begin building your defense.

There are several ways to defend murder charges in Illinois. For example, you can simply state that you are the wrong suspect and you may present evidence that you were somewhere else when the killing occurred. This is referred to as presenting an alibi, and you can use witness testimony or physical evidence such as credit card receipts, plane tickets, or other time-sensitive information to show you were elsewhere at that particular time.

Additionally, there are some circumstances under which killing another person may be justified under the law. In such situations, you admit that you were involved in the killing, but claim that you had a legally valid reason to act in the manner you did. The following are some of the defenses that are available to defendants under Illinois state law.

Self-Defense

You may claim that your actions were in self-defense if you reasonably believed that your actions were necessary to protect yourself from someone else’s use of force. However, if you killed someone with your actions, you must show that you reasonably believed the amount of force you used was necessary to protect yourself from great bodily harm or death. For example, if someone raises a fist like they are going to punch you, you cannot state self-defense if you stab them with a knife. However, if someone tries to stab you, you may use self-defense because you were reasonably in fear of death or great harm.

Defense of a Dwelling

It is also legally justified to use force in order to prevent someone from unlawfully entering or attacking your home. You may only use deadly force if you believe the person was entering the house in a violent manner or with the purpose of using violent force against you or someone else in the home. It is not legally justifiable to use deadly force against someone who is merely trespassing onto your property and not actually trying to enter a dwelling.

Insanity

You are additionally not responsible if you did not have the capacity to understand the criminality of your actions due to a mental defect or disease. Claiming insanity has very specific requirements, however, so you always need an attorney with experience with murder cases.

These are only a couple examples of available defenses to murder charges in Illinois. An experienced Chicago criminal defense lawyer from Goldman & Associates can help identify any defenses that apply in your case in order to avoid wrongful conviction for these very serious offenses. Contact our office today for help.