Were you or a loved one charged with murder or manslaughter in San Diego, CA? A strong defense can mean the difference between a substantial prison sentence, reduced charges, or having the case dismissed entirely. Contact an experienced San Diego murder and manslaughter attorney at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers for immediate assistance today at (619) 357-4977.
We have years of experience helping the people of San Diego fight criminal charges. We know how to launch the aggressive legal defense you deserve.
You don’t have a moment to waste if you’ve been accused of taking someone’s life. Call our law firm in San Diego, California, to schedule a free consultation today.
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How Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers Can Help if You Were Arrested for Murder or Manslaughter in San Diego, CA
Murder and manslaughter charges are a serious matter. The outcome of your case will impact the rest of your life. You deserve the best possible criminal defense lawyers in San Diego in your corner.
At Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers, we know the criminal laws in California inside and out. We’ve protected countless clients in cases involving serious and violent criminal offenses. Our legal team is well-prepared to launch your defense.
Hiring our lawyers means that you’ll have an experienced lawyer on your side to:
- Thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the alleged crime
- Obtain and examine all prosecutorial evidence
- Locate any exculpatory evidence that could establish your innocence
- Help you understand the consequences of accepting a plea bargain
- Negotiate with state prosecutors to have your case dismissed or charges reduced if possible
- Zealously advocate on your behalf in front of a judge and jury if necessary
Our lawyers have handled some of the toughest cases there are. We don’t back down from a fight–and our goal is to secure a not guilty verdict in your case. You probably have many questions if you’re facing criminal charges. Call to learn more about establishing an attorney-client relationship with an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney today.
Overview of Murder and Manslaughter Laws in California
Every murder and manslaughter charge is a serious offense. Despite this, there are several different murder and manslaughter charges that you might face in California. The most serious form of homicide is “intentional murder” under California Penal Code Section 187.
However, you may also face lesser charges, including:
- Voluntary manslaughter under Penal Code Section 192(a)
- Involuntary manslaughter under Penal Code Section 192(b)
- Vehicular manslaughter under Penal Code Section 192(c)
If you are facing murder or manslaughter charges, it’s important to take legal action quickly. Our experienced murder and manslaughter defense lawyers at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers are ready to start building the strong defense you deserve.
Learn more today by calling our law offices to schedule a free case review.
Murder Laws in California
California criminal laws define murder as the killing of a human being or fetus with “malice aforethought.”
You can be convicted of murder if the prosecution can prove:
- You committed an act with wanton disregard for human life, and
- That act had a high probability of causing someone’s death
- There was no lawful justification for the act
In murder cases, “malice” may be express or implied. Malice will be implied if you acted without considerable provocation. Malice is considered “express” if there is a deliberate intent to take someone’s life.
Murder in the state of California is usually charged as a first-degree or second-degree felony.
First and Second Degree Murder
Murder will be a first-degree felony if:
- The murder was willful and premeditated
- The murder was committed using a weapon of mass destruction, an explosive device, amunition designed to penetrate metal or armor, poison, lying in wait, or torture
- The murder is classified as “felony murder”, meaning that it was committed while in the course of committing other types of serious crimes
- The murder was committed by firing a firearm from a motor vehicle with the intent of killing someone
All other types of murder are classified as second-degree felonies.
California’s new felony murder statute often requires the prosecution to prove intent. In the past, you could be convicted of felony murder if someone died while you were committing another serious felony–regardless of whether your acts were intentional.
You could be charged with felony murder if someone died and you:
- Aided and abetted the killing
- Were a major participant in the homicide
- Directly killed someone while committing a felony or attempting to commit a felony
- Kill a peace officer who was on-duty
Murder cases are complex. An arrest doesn’t necessarily mean that the prosecution has the evidence to convict. If you were arrested or charged with murder, call our San Diego murder defense attorneys for a free consultation today.
Often, prosecutors will charge a defendant with murder and later reduce the charges to voluntary manslaughter. Voluntary manslaughter is a “heat of passion” killing. The prosecution doesn’t have to prove that you acted with malice to convict on voluntary manslaughter charges.
Voluntary manslaughter is an unlawful killing of another human being in a sudden quarrel or heat of passion.
Involuntary manslaughter charges will apply if you kill another person:
- While committing a criminal offense that was not a felony
- While committing a lawful act that might produce death in either an unlawful manner or without due caution
In other words, it’s possible that you can be convicted on involuntary manslaughter charges even if you never intended to kill anyone.
Vehicular manslaughter charges apply when someone dies because of gross negligence or reckless driving. The prosecution can convict on vehicular manslaughter charges regardless of the type of vehicle or vessel involved.
What are the Penalties for Murder and Manslaughter in California?
Although the death penalty has been suspended, murder charges still carry some of the most significant penalties available in the state of California. The exact sentence will depend on the type of offense involved and the circumstances of the crime.
If convicted of murder or manslaughter, you could be sentenced to:
- Between 25 years and life in prison for first-degree and felony murder
- Between 15 years and life in prison for second-degree or felony murder
- Up to life in prison without the possibility of parole
- Three, six, or 11 years in state prison for voluntary manslaughter
- Two, three, or four years in prison for involuntary manslaughter
Certain vehicular manslaughter charges are punishable by up to one year in county jail. In more serious cases, you could face up to ten years in state prison.
The collateral consequences of any murder conviction are also significant. Those consequences typically include:
- Significant financial penalties
- Supervised parole upon release from prison
- A permanent criminal record
- Difficulty finding employment or housing
- Immigration issues and deportation
- Loss of professional licenses
- Damage to your personal and professional relationships
These penalties aren’t automatic. If you were charged with murder or manslaughter, a strong criminal defense is your only option. To learn more about how our San Diego murder and manslaughter lawyers can help, call Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers today.
What Defenses Can Be Raised if I’m Accused of Murder or Manslaughter?
Murder and manslaughter laws in California are complex. It’s important to have a strong criminal defense attorney in your corner to make sure that all available defenses are raised.
Prosecutors have to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Our lawyers will examine every piece of evidence to build the strongest legal defense possible.
Depending on the facts and circumstances, effective defense strategies might include:
- Lack of intent to cause someone’s death (lack of malice aforethought)
- Self-defense, if you reasonably believed that your life or someone else’s life was in danger
- “Imperfect” self-defense, meaning that you mistakenly believed that your acts were justified to prevent serious injury or death to someone else
- Insufficient evidence
- Mistaken identity or alibi (actual innocence)
- Police bias
- Constitutional violations, including situations where the police obtained evidence during an illegal search and seizure or Miranda violations
- Challenges to witness credibility and forensic evidence
Many murder and manslaughter charges are based on false allegations or faulty evidence. If you were mistakenly identified in a police lineup or a victim of police bias, our lawyers will do everything possible to locate the evidence to prove your innocence.
If law enforcement obtained evidence in your case illegally, we may be able to file a motion to have that evidence excluded from consideration.
Regardless of the circumstances, our lawyers will do everything possible to have your charges reduced or your case dismissed if possible. Call Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers to discuss your case in detail with a lawyer who can help.
Schedule a Free Consultation With San Diego Murder and Manslaughter Attorney
Being charged with a violent crime can be terrifying–especially if prosecutors in San Diego County are accusing you of causing the death of another person. Start building your aggressive legal defense today.
Call a San Diego murder and manslaughter attorney at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation to get started.