Have you been arrested for homicide in San Diego, CA? A conviction could result in serious jail time and a lifelong criminal record. An experienced San Diego homicide defense lawyer at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers can help you fight to minimize the consequences of the charges you’re facing.
Our lawyers have over ten years of experience helping clients fight criminal charges in San Diego, DUI charges, sex crimes, San Diego juvenile crimes, and more. We know the laws inside and out and are well prepared to build the aggressive defense you need and deserve.
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How Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers Can Help If You Were Arrested for Homicide in San Diego
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and hopeless if you’ve been charged with homicide. The prosecution might make it seem like they have a concrete case and the evidence needed to convict. It’s important to remember that’s not always the case.
You may be facing an uphill battle. Still, an experienced criminal defense lawyer in San Diego, CA can effectively challenge the prosecution’s case and minimize the consequences of the criminal charges you’re facing.
At Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers, we have over a decade of experience helping clients win not-guilty verdicts here in San Diego County. We’ve earned a perfect-10 Avvo rating for exceptional legal representation. We’ve also been recognized as Super Lawyers and the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Attorneys.
When you hire us, our lawyers will:
- Walk you through the legal process, so you understand what is likely to happen
- Independently investigate to uncover any exculpatory evidence
- Closely examine the prosecution’s evidence to identify any weaknesses in their case
- Negotiate behind the scenes to have your charges downgraded, or the case dismissed if possible
- Advocate fiercely to protect your rights at trial
When the stakes are this high, you shouldn’t rely on a busy public defender. Instead, call our San Diego criminal defense attorneys for a free consultation to get the legal advice you deserve.
Overview of the Homicide Laws in California
Homicide is one of the most serious criminal charges a person can face. Homicide cases are always complex, regardless of the charges you’re facing.
State prosecutors can bring homicide charges under one of three separate criminal laws:
- Murder under California Penal Code Section 187
- Voluntary manslaughter under California Penal Code Section 192(a)
- Involuntary manslaughter under California Penal Code Section 192(b)
Intentional murder is the most serious of the three homicide charges. However, you could face serious jail time even if you’re charged with a lesser form of homicide.
If you were charged with any type of homicide, it’s important to call an experienced San Diego homicide attorney immediately. At Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers, our homicide defense lawyers are ready to start building your strong legal defense today. Just call our criminal defense law firm to schedule your free case review and learn more about your legal options.
Section 187 PC defines murder as killing a human being or fetus with malice aforethought.
State prosecutors can convict you on murder charges if they can prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You committed an act that demonstrates a wanton disregard for human life,
- The act had a high probability of causing someone’s death
- You had no lawful justification for committing the act
The malice element of a murder charge can be either express or implied. Prosecutors can prove malice by implication if you acted without any type of considerable provocation. Malice is considered “express” if prosecutors can prove that you deliberately intended to take someone’s life.
In the state of California, murder can be charged as a first-degree felony or second-degree felony.
Voluntary Manslaughter Charges
It’s possible that prosecutors might charge you with homicide and later reduce the charges to voluntary manslaughter. In fact, it’s rare for California prosecutors to charge someone with voluntary manslaughter immediately.
Voluntary manslaughter charges apply when you’re accused of killing someone in the heat of passion or in a sudden quarrel. In voluntary manslaughter cases, prosecutors don’t have to prove the malice element of murder.
Involuntary Manslaughter Charges
You can be charged with involuntary manslaughter in the state of California if you’re accused of killing someone while either:
- Committing a criminal offense that is charged as a misdemeanor (not a felony)
- Committing an otherwise lawful act that could cause death in either an unlawful manner or without exercising due caution
In other words, you can be charged with involuntary manslaughter if you’re accused of killing someone while acting negligently.
Under prior law, you could be convicted of “felony murder” if someone died while you were in the process of committing certain other serious felonies. You could be convicted of felony murder even if you didn’t intend to kill someone.
Under California’s revised felony murder statute, prosecutors are often required to prove intent to convict you of the crime.
State prosecutors can convict you on felony murder charges if they can prove that someone was killed and one of the following was also true:
- You aided and abetted the killing
- You were a major participant in the homicide
- You killed someone while committing or attempting to commit a felony
- You killed an on-duty peace officer
Felony murder is usually a second-degree felony.
What Are the Penalties for Homicide in San Diego, California?
You’ll no longer have to face the death penalty if you’re charged with homicide in California. Still, the consequences of a conviction can be extremely serious.
If convicted on homicide charges, you could be sentenced to:
- Between 25 years and life in prison if convicted on first-degree or felony murder charges
- Between 15 years and life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder (or certain felony murder charges)
- Up to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the most serious homicide cases
- Three, six, or 11 years in state prison if convicted of voluntary manslaughter
- Two, three, or four years in prison if convicted on involuntary manslaughter charges
A lengthy prison sentence isn’t all you’ll have to worry about. The collateral consequences of a homicide conviction are also serious. And, like a sex crime conviction, some of those consequences will follow you for a lifetime if you’re convicted.
Collateral consequences of a homicide conviction typically include:
- Significant monetary penalties
- Court-mandated supervised parole when you’re released from prison
- A criminal record that cannot be expunged
- Trouble finding employment or housing
- Immigration problems and possible deportation
- Loss of certain professional licenses
- Damage to your reputation
- Damage to personal and professional relationships
It’s important to remember that an arrest doesn’t automatically lead to a conviction. California state prosecutors have a lot to prove before they can convict you of homicide. Our lawyers at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers can help you by making it as difficult as possible for the prosecution to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
It’s never too soon to start building the effective defense strategy you deserve. Are you ready to learn more about your legal options? Call our experienced defense lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation today.
What Defenses Can I Raise If I’m Accused of Homicide in California?
Like all other states, California courts take homicide charges extremely seriously. When the penalties are this harsh, it’s important to have the strongest available defense strategy. Our lawyers can help you build the most aggressive legal defense possible.
Depending on the specific facts of your case and the charges you’re facing, your defense strategy could include:
- Lack of evidence to prove you committed homicide beyond a reasonable doubt
- You didn’t intend to kill someone (meaning a lack of malice aforethought)
- You reasonably believed that your or someone else’s life was in danger and acted in self-defense
- You incorrectly believed that your acts were justified and necessary to prevent serious injury or death to yourself or someone else
- Actual innocence defenses, including mistaken identity and alibi defenses
- Police bias
- Violations to your constitutional rights, including illegal search and seizure or violations of your Miranda rights
- Challenges to the credibility of a witness
- Challenges to the viability of DNA or other forensic evidence
Some homicide charges are based on false allegations. If we can prove that a witness had a motive to falsely accuse you of homicide, we may be able to create reasonable doubt about whether you actually committed the crime.
It’s also possible that we could file a motion to have certain prosecutorial evidence excluded if that evidence was tainted or obtained illegally.
You can count on our lawyers to do everything possible to build the strong defense you deserve. If you’re facing criminal charges in San Diego, call our lawyers today. We’re always available to discuss your case and start gathering the evidence you need to prove your case.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a San Diego Homicide Lawyer
Homicide charges are always serious. If you’ve been arrested and charged or are under investigation for committing homicide, call Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers today. With an experienced San Diego homicide lawyer by your side, you’ll greatly increase your chances of obtaining the best outcome possible in your case.
Our criminal defense law firm in San Diego, CA also provides:
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