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Archive for the ‘recklessness’ tag

Understanding Reckless Homicide in Illinois

December 19th, 2019 at 8:56 am

crashCar accidents happen every day in Illinois. Many of these accidents are very minor and do not result in serious injuries. However, sometimes these crashes result in severe injuries and sometimes, even death. When one person causes the accident and another dies as a result, the driver may be found guilty of a felony. This is true when the driver’s negligent or reckless actions caused the accident and the resulting death. In Illinois, this is known as reckless homicide. Some drivers confuse this offense with reckless driving, but there are significant differences, including the penalties associated with them.

Differences Between Reckless Homicide and Reckless Driving

Reckless homicide and reckless driving both involve a driver acting negligently or recklessly while on the road. This means they show a blatant disregard for the safety of others. However, reckless homicide must involve a death for someone to be convicted of the offense. In fact, the Illinois statute governing reckless homicide also includes involuntary manslaughter.

A person charged with reckless homicide does not have to have intent to kill another person. In fact, if they do, they will likely be charged with murder instead of reckless homicide. Still, when a person takes the life of another, the law states they must be penalized for their actions.

Penalties for Reckless Homicide

Reckless homicide also has much harsher penalties than reckless driving. While reckless driving is usually considered a misdemeanor, reckless homicide is always charged as a felony.

A maximum fine of $25,000 can be laid regardless of whether the reckless homicide charge is considered a Class 2 or Class 3 felony. However, a Class 3 felony carries prison sentences of two to five years. A Class 2 felony carries a penalty of between three and 14 years in state prison.

Like any other criminal conviction, the penalties for reckless homicide can cause someone to lose their job, have their driving privileges revoked, prevent them from gaining employment, and from owning a firearm.

Defenses to Reckless HomicideLike any criminal offense, there are several defenses to reckless homicide charges. Some of the most common of these include self-defense and mistaken identity. Additionally, if the prosecution has insufficient evidence, they will also not be able to secure a conviction for the offense.

However, a very effective defense in reckless homicide is that it was truly an accident. When using this defense, drivers can show that they were not driving negligently or recklessly. For example, if a driver ran a red light and hit another car and died as a result, the driver of the vehicle they struck cannot be charged with reckless homicide because they were not driving recklessly.

Our Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney can Help With Your Charges

If you are facing charges of reckless homicide or any other traffic offense, ou r skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can help. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, our attorney knows you have rights even after being charged, and he fights to ensure they are upheld at all times. He also has the necessary experience to craft a solid defense for your case and give you the best chance of a positive outcome. If you need help, call us today at 847-394-3200 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K9-3

 

Criminal Intent: All about a State of Mind

April 14th, 2015 at 5:35 pm

Illinois defense attorney, mens rea, Illinois criminal lawyer, Many crimes are made up of two parts: an action and a mental state. One example is where one person kills another. Depending on the person’s mental state when he or she kills the other person, he or she could be guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, or maybe no crime at all. When it comes to certain crimes, much of what a criminal defense attorney winds up doing at trial is showing a judge or jury that the defendant did not have the required mental state to commit the crime. Each of these mental states has a specific legal definition set out by state statute.

Acting Intentionally

One mental state is “intent” or “acting intentionally.” For a person to be found guilty of a crime that requires that he or she have intent or act intentionally, he or she must have the conscious objective or purpose of accomplishing the result of that crime or engaging in the conduct of that crime.

Acting Knowingly

Acting knowingly or knowing something is a slightly less overt mental state than acting intentionally. A person acts knowingly if one of two possible scenarios apply to him or her. These scenarios are:

  • A person acts knowingly or with knowledge of the nature or attendant circumstances of his or her conduct when he or she is consciously aware that his or her conduct of that nature or that those circumstances exist.
  • A person acts knowingly or with knowledge of the result of his or her conduct if he or she is consciously aware that the result is practically certain to be caused by his or her conduct.

It is important to note that if a statute requires a “knowing” state of mind but the evidence establishes the defendant acted “intentionally,” then that is good enough. If someone has acted intentionally they have also acted knowingly under the law.

Recklessness

Legally speaking, a person is reckless if he or she consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that circumstances will exist or a result will follow and that disregard is a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise in that situation. In other words, a person is reckless if he or she consciously ignores a major obvious risk and in doing so does not exercise the same level of care that a normal person could be expected to under the circumstances.

Negligence

If a person fails to be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that circumstances exist or a result will follow and that failure constitutes a substantial deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise, then that person has acted negligently.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you or someone you love is being investigated for or has been charged with a crime, you need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at (847)394-3200. Christopher Cosley has spent his career fighting for people like you.

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