Illinois manslaughter defense lawyerWhen a victim dies because of another person’s actions, the law considers this to be a homicide. It does not matter whether the individual who caused the death intended for a death to occur – he or she can be charged with homicide, as long as his or her actions were not justified. Whether a person is charged with manslaughter or murder depends on the circumstances surrounding the death, including whether the death was the result of an intentional act.

Manslaughter and murder are both serious charges that carry steep penalties for convicted individuals. There are different penalties for these different convictions, and in certain cases, it could be possible to strike a plea bargain, lowering a murder charge to a manslaughter charge and drastically reducing the potential penalties.

What Constitutes Murder?

Murder is defined as the act of intentionally killing another human being without lawful justification (such as self-defense). To find a defendant guilty of first degree murder in Illinois, the court must prove that at least one of the following was true when the victim’s death occurred:

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Geneva shoplifting defense attorneyShoplifting, the act of stealing from a retailer, is also known as retail theft. Like many other offenses, shoplifting is a serious criminal charge. Although the penalties for a shoplifting conviction are often not as steep as they are for other theft convictions, it is always worth your time to fight a shoplifting charge, because being convicted of shoplifting will subject you to certain civil and criminal penalties. In addition, a conviction on your criminal record can impact the potential penalties for any future charges that you may face. 

If you are facing a shoplifting charge, you should start working on your legal defense strategy with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The defense strategy you create will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. Below are a few potential strategies you may be able to use when you are facing a shoplifting charge:

It Was an Innocent Mistake

People make mistakes. You might accidentally walk out of a store without paying for an item because you were distracted or because the item was nestled among other items you paid for. Your defense strategy could involve demonstrating that you did not intentionally take an item without paying for it, or at least showing that there is not enough evidence to show you intentionally stole the item.

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St. Charles retail theft defense lawyerYou might think that only law enforcement has the right to detain individuals suspected of criminal acts. This is actually untrue. Shopkeeper’s privilege is a store owner’s legal right to detain you for a reasonable amount of time, question you, and call law enforcement to potentially make an arrest if he or she suspects that you have committed a criminal offense, such as shoplifting, in the store. 

Although a store owner or employee may detain and question you in this situation, they do not have the same authority as law enforcement. When you are held for longer than is appropriate for the situation, you may have grounds for a false imprisonment claim against the store owner.

When Can a Shopkeeper or Security Guard Detain Me?

You may only be legally detained in a store when the following circumstances occur:

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Naperville wrongful imprisonment attorneyThe criminal justice system in the United States is not perfect. Even with competent criminal defense counsel, innocent individuals are sometimes wrongfully convicted of crimes and sentenced to lengthy prison sentences. The 2015 Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer brought this issue to many viewers’ attention.

When DNA testing became sophisticated enough to use in criminal investigations, it became an important tool used to prove the innocence of many convicted individuals. Since the first DNA exoneration in 1989, 321 people in the United States have been exonerated based on DNA evidence. In total, 1,467 people have been exonerated in the United States.

How Are Innocent Individuals Exonerated?

As discussed above, DNA evidence from a crime scene can be used to prove that the individual convicted of the crime is innocent. When new evidence or other facts related to a case arise, the case may be re-tried. Throwing out certain evidence, using newly discovered evidence, and working with new details – like a truthful testimony after determining a witness in the first trial lied or the realization that a defendant made a false confession– can change how the court rules on a case, ultimately finding the defendant innocent.

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Naperville perjury defense attorneyPerjury is the offense of lying while under oath. It can be construed as an obstruction of justice, and because of this, it is taken seriously by Illinois and federal criminal courts. You can be charged with perjury while you are navigating the court system because of another criminal charge or when you are involved in a civil case. Perjury is a criminal offense, and as such, you are advised to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to fight your perjury charge.

Defining Perjury

Any instance of intentionally lying while under oath can be charged as an act of perjury. This goes beyond testimonies given during criminal trials and includes statements made in family court, during bail hearings, and during depositions.

However, not all intentional lies are instances of perjury. For a statement to be deemed an act of perjury, its content must be material to the legal proceeding. So, in a deposition, lying about your relationship with the suspect may be an act of perjury if it would redirect the investigation, whereas giving a false statement about the time you spend using social media or the color of your car are not acts of perjury if they are irrelevant to the investigation.

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