There is no offense more serious than a homicide charge. The punishment for homicide, murder, and manslaughter crimes in California can mean years, decades, or even life in prison, without the possibility of parole. If you or a loved one is facing homicide charges, choosing an attorney to defend your case is one of the most important decisions you will ever have to make. It is critical that you retain the services of an aggressive, highly experienced criminal defense attorney with a proven track record as soon as possible. As former prosecutors with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, our attorneys have handled many homicide cases over the past decade and have taken on some of the most complex cases in Southern California. Homicide is generally governed by California Penal Code Section 187 and is defined as the unlawful killing of a human being by another. Homicide offenses can range from manslaughter charges (whether involuntary, voluntary, or a host of vehicular manslaughter charges) to murder (whether first or second degree) depending on the intent of the accused and the facts of the case. Our attorneys have handled each of these cases: from the initial filing of charges to the investigation, from the preliminary hearing or grand jury indictments to the actual trial and even after. The burden of proof lies on the prosecution to prove each and every element of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt before the accused can ever be found guilty. Otherwise, the jury must return a “not guilty” verdict.
First Degree Murder Charge
First-degree murder is reserved for especially heinous crimes involving premeditation, deliberation or deliberate planning, and intent to kill. California state laws list the special circumstances that a prosecutor must use to charge a defendant with first-degree murder.
Second Degree Murder Charge
All homicides that do not meet the definition of first degree murder will be charged as second degree murder unless the prosecutor chooses to pursue a charge of manslaughter. Defenses to second degree murder charges include:
- Provocation or heat of passion that reduces the homicide to manslaughter
- Insanity or lack of mental capacity
- Defense of another person
If you unlawfully kill another person without pre-determined intent, you could be convicted of manslaughter. In a voluntary manslaughter case, the accused has intentionally killed a person in the heat of the moment, and could be sentenced to years in prison. In an involuntary manslaughter case, the accused has killed another person without intending death, but could also be sentenced to years in prison.
The Orange County criminal defense attorneys at Kundani Chang Khinda & Wilson LLP are recognized as one of California’s best criminal defense firms, and we understand that thorough investigation into the details of every case is crucial. We dedicate our time to investigating every aspect of your case and know how to utilize expert witnesses in a homicide case including doctors, psychologists, document experts, and police investigation reports. We are committed to doing everything necessary to defend against a criminal conviction and will structure our defense approach around the result you want to achieve.
The legal team at our law firm has years of experience pertinent to criminal defense law. Depending upon your circumstances, you could be facing the death penalty. This is the most serious punishment that you could possibly receive, therefore you need to approach it with the best possible legal team who has the extensive legal experience and successful litigation history you need. If you have been charged with a homicide offense, it is crucial that you consult with a criminal lawyer at our firm immediately.