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Murder charges are perhaps the most serious that any defendant faces. If you are charged with homicide in California, then your life is on the line. Asking an inexperienced criminal defense lawyer to represent you is not an option. When you are in a fight for your life, experience matters. That means working with one of the Los Angeles murder defense attorneys at our firm. Our practitioners have significant experience defending clients against murder charges. With their diligence, dedication to justice and willingness to fight for their clients these California homicide defense lawyers have guided many defendants through this difficult process. If you are being investigated for or have been charged with murder, then you need a competent advocate working for you. Contact us so we can begin working on a defense for you.
Talk to a Los Angeles Murder Defense Attorney, Not the Police
Too many people make the mistake of speaking with the police when it’s in their best interests to remain silent. The police are adept at getting suspects to talk, and they may be empowered to lie or mislead you into making incriminating statements. Circumstances like these sometimes cause people to make admissions that they shouldn’t make. Combine that with the propensity of the police to put everything you say into the worst possible light and you might talk yourself into being charged with murder.
Clearly, the smartest thing you can do is exercise your right to remain silent with the police. Talk to a Los Angeles homicide defense attorney instead.
Various California Murder Charges
Many forms of murder may be charged in California. It’s helpful to understand some key terms so that the defendant recognizes exactly what crime the District Attorney is accusing them of committing. Homicide simply refers to the killing of one human by another human. The homicide may be considered lawful or unlawful and may include both manslaughter and murder. It’s difficult for some people to understand how a homicide can be lawful. However, sometimes homicide is committed with justification or in an act of self-defense or in the act of defending someone else. In fact, self-defense frequently makes for an effective strategy against homicide charges, and this possibility may be explored by your criminal defense attorney.
Manslaughter refers to the taking of a life without malice aforethought. This means that the person who is alleged to have committed the murder did so without planning. Perhaps the act happened in the heat of the moment or was an accident. Regardless, the defendant was not in a state of mind to commit murder. Manslaughter may be either voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter occurs when one person intentionally kills another. Involuntary manslaughter is defined as an unintentional murder, such as a killing that happens as the result of a car accident. When a car is involved, this crime may be known as vehicular manslaughter.
The severest penalties are reserved for people who are charged with committing murder. The main difference between this charge and charges of manslaughter is that murder requires malice aforethought. In other words, the alleged perpetrator planned the killing in advance.
Various Degrees of Murder in California
Someone charged with first-degree murder in California may be suspected of killing someone else willfully and deliberately. Hence, a defendant may be accused of going to someone else’s house with the intention of killing the occupant. Another example involves lying in wait for someone to return to their car for the purposes of murdering them. An accusation of first-degree murder can become a capital murder case if special circumstances apply. California law defines 20 varying situations involving murder that may be tried as capital murder. These include circumstances such as murdering for financial gain, murdering multiple victims, murdering someone while attempting to commit another felony, murdering to benefit a criminal gang and many others. People who are tried for capital murder may face the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
People convicted of murder in California are not always sentenced to death or life in prison without the possibility of parole. Some have the option of being released on parole at some point. However, even an involuntary manslaughter conviction can mean a significant prison sentence and steep fines. Many people are also sentenced to a term of probation or parole. Moreover, being convicted of any homicide offense is a strike offense under California’s Three Strikes Law. This can mean enhanced sentencing for any subsequent charges.
Hire an Experienced Los Angeles Murder Defense Attorney
When you are accused of murder the rest of your life may be literally hanging in the balance. Even if you receive a relatively light sentence of less than 25 years you may still lose a significant portion of your life to incarceration. In addition, you will have a violent felony on your record, complicating everything in your life afterward.
You need a competent, aggressive Los Angeles criminal defense attorney to represent you in court. Speak with an attorney sooner rather than later. Doing so can mean the difference between charges being filed and investigators being forced to look elsewhere. Even after charges are filed, your California homicide lawyer can work toward getting the charges against you reduced or dropped. When this isn’t possible, you can trust that your attorney will do everything in his power to protect your rights and obtain the best available outcome.