Illinois state law separates murder into two degrees. First-degree murder is committed when one person kills another person without justification with intent to do so, or by committing an act with intent to do great bodily harm, or knowing that such an act will or is likely to result in the other person’s death. Murder in the first degree also includes causing a person’s death while in the act of committing a forcible felony aside from second-degree murder.

Murder in the second degree involves the exact same factors listed above, but also includes one or both of two mitigating factors. The first is that, at the time of the killing, the offender was acting out of intense and sudden passion caused by the provocation of the victim or someone else who they intended to kill, but unintentionally caused the victim’s death, instead. The second mitigating factor is that, at the time of killing, the offender had an unreasonable belief that their actions were a justifiable use of force under 720 ILCS 5/Art. 7.


First-degree murder is punishable by life imprisonment in the state of Illinois. On rare occasion, however, it may also be valid grounds for the death penalty. Second-degree murder is a Class 1 felony, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $25,000. Learn more about these and other penalties by contacting a Chicago criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible if you are facing charges.


When faced with charges of murder or manslaughter, you may feel like there is no one who can help. Okabe & Haushalter is here to prove that this is not true. Our firm is prepared to successfully defend clients against any criminal charges, no matter how difficult the case may appear. We have obtained satisfactory results for countless cases, as is evident on our case results page and in our testimonials. Contact a defense attorney from our firm today to learn how we can fight your murder charges and defend you from a conviction.

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