Murder or manslaughter fall under the category of homicide, and in California is the unlawful and deliberate killing of another individual. The laws in the state is specific regarding which offenses qualify as manslaughter, and which qualify as murder. Manslaughter is a less serious offense, although it still leaves an accused individual facing severe criminal penalties if convicted. While murder is premeditated, manslaughter often involved an unintentional or accidental killing. At The Justice Firm, our Los Angeles homicide defense lawyers possess the skill, experience, and aggressive approach essential in securing outstanding results for clients accused of violent crimes.
Whether you are under investigation, have been arrested, or charged with a homicide offense, our criminal defense firm is highly qualified to provide you with solid, effective legal representation at any stage of your case.Definition of Homicide Charges in California
Homicide is the taking of another human being's life, whether unlawfully or lawfully. Manslaughter and murder are both forms of homicide. When another person is killed out of self defense or in defense of another individual in imminent danger of being killed, the killing is considered lawful.
Manslaughter may be involuntary or voluntary, and unlike murder is usually committed in the heat of passion, or as the result of an accident. Manslaughter lacks the element of malice aforethought (Penal Code Section 192).
Involuntary manslaughter occurs when someone loses his or her life as an indirect result of negligence. For example, if someone fails to stop at a red light and strikes another vehicle resulting in the death of a person in that vehicle, the person who ran the red light may be charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Voluntary manslaughter involves killing another individual without malice aforethought or planning ahead; it is often an immediate reaction in which the individual who commits the crime has no time to think about it, but acts out of anger such as in the heat of passion.
Murder is the most serious of all homicide crimes, and is the intentional or "planned" unlawful killing of another human being. Penal Code Section 187 defines murder as the "unlawful and unjustified killing of another human being with malice aforethought."
Vehicular manslaughter is as the name implies, a killing caused by a vehicle. With vehicular manslaughter, an individual may operate a vehicle he/she knows to be defective in some way, and another person loses his or her life as a result of the defective vehicle. While the killing is unintentional, it is unlawful.Los Angeles Homicide Criminal Penalties
The criminal penalties you will face if convicted for a homicide offense depend on the actual crime committed. For example, a conviction for first-degree murder may result in 25 years to life in prison, while capital murder may leave the defendant facing the death penalty.
A second-degree murder conviction will result in penalties which include prison time of 15 years to life; however penalties may be more harsh depending on the circumstances of your case.
If convicted of voluntary manslaughter, penalties may include three, six, or eleven years in California state prison. Involuntary manslaughter will leave the defendant facing two, three, or four years in state prison if convicted.
Vehicular manslaughter may be charged either as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances. Criminal penalties for those convicted of this homicide offense depend on how it is prosecuted, and may include up to one year in county jail (misdemeanor) or two to ten years in state prison (felony).
Additionally, charges of first or second degree murder, capital murder, or attempted murder may result in a "strike" under the California Three Strike Law.Contact The Justice Firm Immediately for Effective Homicide Defense
Anyone who has been arrested or charged with a homicide offense in the Los Angeles area must obtain the legal services of a criminal defense lawyer who is highly effective and thoroughly experienced in these complex cases. Whether you are under investigation or have already been charged with murder or manslaughter, do not hesitate to obtain capable legal counsel. The best results are achieved when you hire an attorney in the critical early stages of a case. Our goal is to protect your legal rights and provide a vigorous defense so that you can avoid jail time if possible. Contact The Justice Firm immediately for a free consultation at 866-695-6714.