Violent crimes are those offenses that involve force or threat of force against another person. In Illinois, common violent offenses include kidnapping, involuntary manslaughter, murder, and robbery. Penalties for violent crimes are some of the harshest in Illinois. Violent crimes are charged as felony offenses, with varying terms of imprisonment. Depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, there are specific aggravating factors that can elevate the category of felony, and potential term of imprisonment. These factors make the underlying conduct or act more dangerous or sinister. Aggravating factors may include the vulnerability of the complaining witness, the use of a firearm or deadly weapon, and the accused’s criminal background.
A person commits the offense of kidnapping when he or she:
(1) knowingly and secretly confines another person against his or her will; or
(2) by force or by threat of imminent force, carries another person from one place to another with intent to secretly confine that person against his or her will; or
(3) by deceit or enticement, induces another person to go from one place to another place with the intent to secretly confine that person against his or her will.
Typically, kidnapping is a Class 2 felony (3 to 7 years in the state penitentiary), however if aggravating factors are present to elevate the kidnapping to a charge of aggravated kidnapping, then the offense becomes a Class X felony (6 to 30 years in the state penitentiary).
Involuntary manslaughter is the unintentional killing of another caused by a person’s reckless acts. Typically, involuntary manslaughter is a Class 3 felony (2 to 5 years in the state penitentiary). Under certain circumstances, however, the penalty increases to a Class 2 felony (3 to 7 years in the state penitentiary).
In Illinois, murder is categorized as either first degree or second degree. First-degree murder is the unjustified killing of another when the accused either:
(1) intended to cause death or great bodily harm;
(2) knew his or her actions would cause death or was aware that his or her actions had a strong probability of causing death or great bodily harm; or
(3) at the time of the killing, was attempting or carrying out another forcible felony (e.g., a robbery).
The penalties for a first-degree murder range from either 20 to 60 year in the state penitentiary or a life sentence in the state penitentiary. Depending on the facts and circumstances, a life sentence can be mandatory or discretionary. Additionally, all first-degree murder sentences are enhanced by an additional 15-year, 20-year, or 25-year to life sentence when the accused possessed or discharged a firearm causing death or great bodily harm. Second-degree murder is the unjustified killing of another while the accused:
(1) was under a sudden heat of passion; or
(2) unreasonably believed that deadly force was justified in self-defense.
Second-degree murder is charged as a Class 1 felony (4 to 25 years in the state penitentiary).
Is the intentional seizure of another’s property directly from that person using either force or threat of force. Typically, robbery is charged as a Class 2 felony (3 to 7 years in the state penitentiary), but depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, can be elevated to a higher category of offense. If at the time of the offense, the accused tells the complaining witness that he or she possesses a weapon and will use it if the complaining witness does not comply, then the offense is charged as an aggravated robbery. If at the time of the offense, the accused produces an actual firearm or dangerous weapon, then the offense is charged as an armed robbery. The difference between the two is that an aggravated robbery includes the threat of a weapon even though the accused does not actually have one in his or her possession, while an armed robbery requires the actual presence of a weapon. An aggravated robbery is charged as a Class 1 felony (4 to 25 years in the state penitentiary), whereas an armed robbery is charged as a Class X felony (6 to 30 years in the state penitentiary).
The stakes are incredibly high when facing charges for a violent crime. If you or a loved one are facing either a kidnapping, involuntary manslaughter, murder or robbery charge, it is important to consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney who will thoroughly review all of the evidence, identify all potential issues with the State’s case, and devise an aggressive defense strategy to help fight any of the above charges.