Second Degree Murder

Los Angeles Second Degree Murder Attorney

Criminal Defense Lawyers Representing Clients in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Ventura, and San Bernardino Counties in California Accused of Second Degree Murder

In California, all other types of murder which do not qualify as first degree are considered second degree murder. California Penal Code 189 defines second degree murder as "all other kinds of murders" which are not classified as first degree, or which do not include the elements of deliberation or premeditation. At The Justice Firm, we understand the stress and fear those charged with any serious or violent offense face. Our top priority is to work with the client in order to achieve his or her desired outcome. Our Los Angeles second degree murder lawyers know the serious penalties those convicted face; we work vigorously to protect our clients' legal rights and freedom.

A person may be charged with second degree murder in cases where the other person's death was not intentional. For instance, someone who is a convicted DUI offender may get behind the wheel of a vehicle while in an inebriated state and cause an accident that results in another person's death. Another example would be if two individuals became involved in a heated fight, and one pulled out a gun, shooting the other in the heat of passion. That individual may have intended to injure the victim, but not to take his or her life. Regardless of the circumstances, a charge of second degree murder is still something that should be taken very seriously, as the penalties are life-changing.

California Penalties for Second Degree Murder

The penalties for a conviction are harsh, and vary depending on several factors including prior criminal history and the circumstances surrounding each particular case. In general, those convicted of second degree murder will be sentenced to a minimum of 15 years in prison up to a maximum of life behind bars. Some of the circumstances which may impact the sentence in your case include:

  • Individuals who have served a sentence for murder previously may be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole
  • Individuals who intend to cause serious injury by shooting a firearm out of a vehicle resulting in death may be sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison, rather than 15
  • When the victim is a peace officer, the minimum sentence automatically increases to 25 years
  • When the victim is a peace officer and you either a) killed him or her using a firearm or deadly weapon, b) specifically intended to inflict great bodily harm or, c) specifically intended to kill the officer, you may be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole
Having Second Degree Murder Reduced to Manslaughter in California

An experienced Los Angeles second degree murder attorney knows that there are many times these charges may be reduced to manslaughter, which often results in penalties which are less severe or damaging. Manslaughter is basically the intentional, inexcusable, or unjustifiable taking of another person's life without malice, deliberation, or premeditation. For example, if it can be proven that the victim sufficiently provoked the defendant to kill him or her, the defendant may be charged with manslaughter rather than second-degree murder.

Contact The Justice Firm Today for Aggressive Defense

Our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys understand the seriousness of the situation when someone is facing potential charges of second degree murder. However, an arrest or charge does not automatically mean you will be convicted. Every person is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; our goal is to have the charge dismissed, secure an acquittal, or have the charge reduced to a lesser offense such as manslaughter when it is the only option. Ultimately, we want to protect you against prison time, steep fines, and ruin of your reputation and career. Contact us immediately for outstanding legal representation. We invite you to call (310)914-2444 now for a free consultation regarding your case.

What Should You Do Now?