Professional Legal Representation for Murder, Homicide and Manslaughter Charges
In the state of California, the criminal act of killing another human being is divided into two categories: murder and manslaughter. Under Penal Code section 187, murder is the “unlawful killing of a human being or fetus with malice aforethought”, or the express intention to kill another person.
Murder is the most serious of charges and is classified as first or second-degree. First-degree murder includes premeditated killings and felony murder, or when someone dies during crimes such as robberies, carjacking, and sexual assault. Sentencing depends on the severity of your case and your criminal history, but the punishment for first-degree murder is 25 years-to-life in prison. Second-degree murder involves no premeditation and is punishable by 15 years-to-life.
Manslaughter is defined as a death that results from an intentional act that clearly presented danger to other persons and was committed with knowledge of and disregard for that danger. Manslaughter carries a sentence of anywhere from 3 to 11 years in prison depending on the type – voluntary, involuntary, or vehicular.
The Details of Your Charges
There are many defense strategies your attorney can use, depending on the facts of your case and your proximity to the crime. For example, you may have acted in self-defense, believing you were in imminent danger. Justifiable self-defense will not get your case dismissed, but it can reduce your charges to manslaughter.
Perhaps your actions were accidental, such as when a stray bullet kills someone after a gun is fired in the sky during a celebration. If you understood the inherent danger of your act, then the criminal charge could be second-degree murder.
Furthermore, if you were coerced into a confession during your interrogation, your attorney can get your confession excluded from evidence. Likewise, if the police conducted an illegal search and seizure of your property, your attorney could ask the judge to exclude the illegally obtained evidence.
Murder defense attorney David A. Stein will not solely rely on the prosecuting facts and evidence but will launch his own investigation following discovery. He will also pursue all witnesses and thoroughly review the crime scene, which may reveal undiscovered evidence in your favor. Furthermore, he is experienced with medical and psychological circumstances that may impact your case, and can evaluate which experts will be needed for your defense strategy.
Your Legal Rights
While every case is different, if you’re arrested for murder, a conviction could end in life imprisonment. Posting bail without speaking to your lawyer first can also be harmful to your case. Your lawyer may also ask the judge for you to be released on your own recognizance or for a bail reduction.
When facing criminal charges in Orange County, contact David A. Stein. He is familiar with all types of evidence in criminal cases and will aggressively pursue the best murder defense for you.