Experienced Homicide Defense Attorney in San Diego, California

In Need of a Homicide Defense Lawyer in San Diego, California?

At the Griffin Law Office, APC, our San Diego criminal defense attorney knows that when someone is charged with homicide in California, their very freedom is in jeopardy.

Homicide is a legal term for any killing of one person by another. It encompasses all instances in which one person causes the death of another person, regardless of the circumstances or intent.

Our skilled criminal defense lawyer in San Diego County represents individuals charged with homicide of all types and degrees to help ensure their rights are protected throughout the legal process. It is important to our law firm that our clients have all the legal resources they need to make informed decisions about their cases and futures so that we can build the best defense strategy available for their unique circumstances.

This is your life. Let us help you regain control of it.

What are the Different Types of Homicide Charges in California?

Homicide Charges

Depending on the facts of the case, California prosecutors may charge the accused with different types of homicide.

The most common homicide charges include, but are not limited to:

  • First-Degree Murder

First-degree murder is the willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of one person by another.

However, first-degree murder may also include a death that results from:

  • Armor-piercing ammunition.
  • Explosive device.
  • Poison.
  • Torture.
  • Weapon of mass destruction.

A conviction for first-degree murder in California carries a sentence of up to 25 years in state prison. If the murder is judged to be a hate crime — a crime based on the victim’s religion, race, gender, disability, or sexual orientation — the defendant can face life in prison without parole.

  • Second-Degree Murder

Second-degree murder is the killing of another person that is willful but not deliberate or premeditated.

Penalties for a second-degree murder conviction carry a sentence of 15 years to life in prison.

If there are aggravating factors, including the accused having a prior criminal history, if the murder occurred during a drive-by shooting, or if the victim was a law enforcement officer, the penalties will be much higher.

  • Capital Murder

Capital murder charges in California are known as “murder with special circumstances,” which may include, but is not limited to:

  • Murder for financial gain.
  • Murder in a hate crime.
  • Murder of a public servant, including a police officer, firefighter, EMT, or judge.
  • Murder of a witness to prevent them from testifying.
  • Murder to benefit a street gang.

A conviction for murder with special circumstances carries the potential for life in prison without parole and capital punishment.

  • Felony Murder

The felony murder rule states that a death that occurs during the commission of a felony can result in murder charges for everyone involved in the crime — even if they were not directly responsible for the killing.

Felony murder can be categorized as either first-degree or second-degree felony murder.

First-degree felony murder requires the killing to have taken place during the commission of one of the following crimes:

  • Arson.
  • Burglary.
  • Carjacking.
  • Kidnapping.
  • Mayhem.
  • Rape.
  • Robbery.

Second-degree felony murder is a killing that occurred while the person was committing an inherently dangerous felony — not one listed above. This can include drug crimes, certain assaults, and grand theft auto.

A conviction for felony murder can result in a sentence of 15 years to life or 25 years to life, depending on whether the killing occurred during a first- or second-degree felony.

  • Attempted Murder

Attempted murder is an attempt to kill another person that, if successful, would be murder.

Like other homicides, attempted murder can be categorized as either in the first- or second-degree.

  • First-degree is an attempt to murder another person using malice aforethought.
  • Second-degree is an attempt to murder another person that does not fit the definition of first-degree attempted murder.

The potential penalties for attempted murder in California depend on how the crime was committed.

  • If it was done with premeditation and deliberation, then it can be charged as first-degree attempted murder and is punishable by five, seven, or nine years in prison.
  • If no planning was involved, it is considered second-degree attempted murder and is punishable by two, three, or four years in prison.

An attempted murder charge can be filed even if no one was harmed during the crime.

  • Voluntary Manslaughter

Voluntary manslaughter describes a situation in which the killing of a person is willful and deliberate but not premeditated. A conviction for voluntary manslaughter carries a sentence of three, six, or 11 years in state prison.

  • Involuntary Manslaughter

Involuntary manslaughter is killing another person without malice or intent to kill but with a conscious disregard for human life. This may include a death occurring during the commission of a non-felony unlawful act or a legal act with a high risk for death or bodily injury where the defendant failed to act cautiously.

A conviction for involuntary manslaughter in California carries a state prison sentence of two, three, or four years.

  • Vehicular Manslaughter

It is vehicular manslaughter if a person kills another person while driving due to:

  • A lawful act that carries the risk of death.
  • An unlawful (but non-felony) maneuver.
  • Knowingly causing an accident for financial gain.

Vehicular manslaughter is a “wobbler,” meaning it can be prosecuted as a felony or misdemeanor. Felony charges carry a maximum sentence of ten years in prison, while misdemeanor charges carry a maximum of one year in state jail.

What are the Most Common Defenses to Murder Charges in California?

Crime Scene

At the Griffin Law Office, our experienced homicide defense attorney in San Diego examines our client’s cases based on the facts, evidence, and circumstances. Once we outline the case’s specifics, leaving no detail to chance, we will design an appropriate defense strategy for each client’s unique legal needs.

Valid legal defenses may include, but are not limited to:

  • Self Defense.
  • Defense of Others
  • Inadvertent Act.
  • Insanity.
  • Mistaken Identity.

If you are being investigated for homicide in California, you must speak with a skilled homicide defense lawyer in San Diego to learn more about your legal rights and options before you talk with the police.

If you are being investigated for homicide in California, you must speak with a skilled homicide defense lawyer in San Diego to learn more about your legal rights and options before you talk with the police.

The California Homicide Defense Attorney at the Griffin Law Office Can Help

If you have been arrested for homicide in California, contact our skilled San Diego criminal defense attorney today to learn more about your legal rights and how we can help build your defense to pursue the best outcome for your case by calling (619)-269-2131 today.

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