Violent Crimes

Violent Crimes Defense Lawyer Serving Chicago Metropolitan Area Clients

Violent crimes are defined in the Illinois Compiled Statutes Criminal Code of 2012 as offenses that involve the defendant using force or threat of force against the victim. Violent crimes are also known in Illinois as crimes against persons. The main violent crimes are homicide, sexual assault, assault and battery, and robbery.

Due to the severity of the offenses, violent crimes are punished harshly in the state of Illinois. Sentences range from 30 days in county jail to life in prison. Aggravating factors such as criminal history, nature of the offense, and vulnerability of the victim can increase the maximum penalty. In addition to time in prison, defendants can also be sentenced to long periods of probation or supervised release with strict and onerous conditions, fines, Crime Victims Compensation Act fees, and exorbitant restitution amounts. Not only do defendants convicted of violent crimes face extreme restrictions on their liberty, but they also face several other dire consequences.

If you have been charged with a violent crime in Chicago or a surrounding county, you need to contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer immediately to discuss your case. David Freidberg has over 25 years of experience representing clients accused of violent crimes in Cook County. A two-time winner of the Client’s Choice Award sponsored by Avvo, Chicago violent crime lawyer David Freidberg prides himself on providing personalized representation that is focused on helping clients explore their legal options and pursue their best interests. Whether you want a star negotiator or an aggressive advocate in the courtroom, criminal defense attorney David Freidberg can counsel you on how to best approach your violent crimes criminal case. With offices in Chicago, DuPage, and Skokie, Chicago violent crime attorney David Freidberg is ready to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, P.C. at (312) 560-7100 or toll free at (800) 803-1442 today to schedule a free consultation.

Violent Crimes

In 2013 alone, victims made a staggering 20,0005 complaints for violent crimes in Chicago, though many of these complaints did not result in arrests. The FBI has defined “violent crimes” to include only murder and manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault and battery. However, multiple other Illinois offenses qualify as violent crimes:

Murder and Manslaughter

Murder is the unlawful killing of another and is the most severely punished felony in Illinois. Prior to 2011, defendants convicted of murder faced the death penalty. However, following abolition of the death penalty, defendants now face anywhere from 4 years to life in prison for homicide. In Illinois, there are two types of murder: first degree murder and second degree murder.

To prove first degree murder , the prosecutor must show the defendant committed an unjustified killing of the victim and one of the following three factors:

  1. The defendant intended either death or great bodily harm
  2. The defendant 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
  3. At the time of the killing, the defendant was attempting or carrying out another forcible felony such as robbery.

To prove second degree murder , the prosecutor must show the defendant committed an unjustified killing of the victim while under a sudden heat of passion or when unreasonably believing that deadly force was justified in self-defense.

A variety of aggravating circumstances can affect the maximum potential sentence for the defendant, including: the victim was a police or correctional officer, the defendant killed multiple victims, the killing was a murder for hire, the victim was a criminal prosecution witness, and the murder was premeditated.

In addition, certain mitigating factors exist that may reduce prison time, such as: the defendant has no criminal history, the defendant was coerced, the defendant has a history of abuse or the defendant has mental health issues.

Manslaughter is the unintentional killing of another, even if the act that causes the death is lawful. One example of manslaughter is a chef falling asleep while in the kitchen, starting a fire that kills restaurant patrons. Reckless homicide is similar to involuntarily manslaughter and is reserved solely for reckless driving that causes a death.


Many sex crimes involve unconsented use of sexual force against another and are prosecuted vigorously by the State’s Attorney’s Office. The most serious and violent form of sex crime is rape. Rape is the colloquial term for criminal sexual assault. In Illinois, criminal sexual assault occurs when the defendant sexually penetrates the victim and either:

  1. Uses force or threat of force,
  2. Knows the victim is unable to consent,
  3. Is related to the minor victim, or
  4. Has a position of authority or trust over the teenage minor victim.

Criminal sexual assault is a Class 1 felony, which faces anywhere from a mandatory 4 to 15 years in state prison. This offense is not eligible for probation. If the defendant is a repeat offender, the sexual assault becomes a Class X felony, which usually carries 30 to 60 years in state prison but can be extended if aggravating circumstances are present.

Rape is an incredibly difficult offense for prosecutors to prove. Often times, victims recant their stories, contradict themselves or even admit to fabricating rape complaints. A skilled Chicago sex crimes defense attorney can review your case, assess the strength of the government’s position, and develop an aggressive and shrewd defense strategy to help you fight the accusations.


In Illinois, robbery is the intentional seizure of another’s property directly from that person using either force or threat of force. The offense becomes aggravated robbery when the defendant tells the victim that he or she possesses a weapon and will use it if the victim does not comply. Armed robbery is robbery that occurs with the assistance of a gun or other dangerous weapon. The difference between aggravated robbery and armed robbery is that aggravated robbery includes the threat of a weapon even though the defendant may not actually have a weapon. Armed robbery requires the actual presence of a weapon.

Vehicular hijacking or carjacking is the taking of a vehicle from another using force or threat of force. Vehicular hijacking is similar to robbery except this Illinois statute only covers vehicles. Vehicular hijacking can also be aggravated or armed.

Robbery is a Class 2 felony, which is punishable up to 7 years in state prison. Aggravated robbery and robbery of a vulnerable person, such as a physically handicapped person, are both Class 1 felonies, which carry up to 15 years in prison. Armed robbery is a Class X felony, the most serious form of felony, which carries up to life in prison. Vehicular hijacking is a Class 1 felony, which faces 4 to 15 years in state prison.

Assault and Battery

Though the words ‘assault‘ and ‘ battery‘ are often used interchangeably, they mean two very different things in Illinois. According to 720 ILCS 5/12 , an assault occurs when the defendant creates a reasonable fear that a battery is about to occur, and a battery occurs when the defendant either injures or makes offensive, unwanted contact with another. Thus assault does not require any physical contact. You could be charged with assault for pointing a gun at another person or for raising your fists and advancing towards someone as if to strike them. If you actually shot or hit the other person, the assault would become a battery. When actual physical contact is made, the prosecutor often charges the defendant with both assault and battery.

Assault is a Class C misdemeanor, which carries up to 30 days in county jail and mandatory community service. Assault can become aggravated assault depending on the location, status of the victim or use of weapons. Aggravated assault can be either a Class C or A misdemeanor, which carry 30 days to 1 year in county jail, or a Class 4 or 3 felony, which carry 1 to 5 years in state prison. The classification will vary based upon the individual circumstances of the assault.

Battery is a Class A misdemeanor, punished by up to 1 year in county jail. Battery becomes aggravated battery based on extent of the injury, status of victim, use of a weapon or other enumerated conduct. Aggravated battery can be a Class 3, 2, 1 or X felony depending upon the circumstances, which means a defendant may face anywhere from 2 years to life in state prison.

Consult with a Chicago Violent Crimes Defense Lawyer for Free

David Freidberg understands the high stakes of criminal cases and will fight tirelessly to defend you of any and all violent crimes charges. If you want a criminal defense expert with over 25 years of litigation experience, contact The Law Offices of David Freidberg 24/7 at (312) 560-7100 to schedule a one-on-one consultation with an experienced violent crimes lawyer serving Chicago.

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