Los Angeles Crime Up 250% in the First Week of June, According to LAPD
Reopening businesses and returning to “normal” life has an impact on everything, from the economy and your health to crime rates. According to the LAPD, homicides rose by 250% for the week of May 31 through June 6. Shootings for that week increased by 56 percent from the prior week.
Interestingly, after the initial stay-at-home orders were issued, crime dropped by 23 percent compared to the same period in 2019. A decrease in crime was an unexpected consequence of the coronavirus pandemic.
What are the Types of Murder Charges Someone Can Face in Los Angeles?
The specifics of each homicide case vary. The constant is that a person lost his or her life in each case. The murder charges depend on the facts and circumstances in each case.
- misdemeanor manslaughter
- involuntary manslaughter
- voluntary manslaughter
- vehicular manslaughter
- first-degree murder
- second-degree murder
Manslaughter is the act of killing someone without evil intent. It could involve a murder that occurred during the commission of another crime, but the defendant did not intend for anyone to die. Vehicular manslaughter may be used when someone dies because a driver operated a vehicle in a grossly negligent manner.
On the other hand, murder is the act of intentionally killing someone. The code section defines murder as taking someone’s life with “malice aforethought.” Malice aforethought merely means that the person had a conscious intent to cause death when the person acted.
What are the Penalties for Murder?
The criminal penalties for a homicide vary depending on the charge. Aggravating factors can increase the severity of the penalties. Factors that could result in a more severe sentence for a murder conviction include:
- prior murder convictions;
- the defendant is a gang member;
- whether the murder involved torture;
- the defendant committed another crime in connection with the murder such as rape;
- the defendant ambushed the victim; and,
- the person killed was a law enforcement officer.
Depending on the charge and aggravating circumstances, a person convicted of murder in California could serve a life sentence. California also has the death penalty. Defendants who are not sentenced to life without parole or given the death sentence could still face decades in prison for murder.
What are the Defenses to Murder Charges?
The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the charges. However, that does not mean that a person charged with murder should not mount a strong defense.
If you are charged with murder, you may be fighting for your life. You must take immediate steps to protect your legal rights and build a strong defense. A homicide defense attorney can help.
Your attorney investigates the murder to gather evidence to use in your defense. In many cases, an attorney knows more about your case after his investigation than the prosecutor knows about your case. That is to your advantage.
Potential defenses to murder charges include, but are not limited to:
Arguing for a Lesser Charge
If you admit that you are guilty of the crime, you may argue that the facts of the case do not fit the charges. In other words, the facts do not support a charge of murder in the first degree. However, the facts may support charges of involuntary manslaughter.
The purpose of this defense strategy is to have the charges decreased to avoid a harsh sentence. In some cases, you may plead to the lesser charge in exchange for a more favorable sentence.
You have the right to defend yourself if you are in imminent danger of sustaining bodily harm. To be successful using this defense, you must also prove that you had a reason to believe that the use of force was necessary to defend yourself and that the force you used was reasonably necessary to defend against the danger.
Self-defense can also be used to defend murder charges arising from the defense of another person. Instead of being fearful for your life or safety, you are fearful for another person’s safety.
Self-defense can be challenging to prove in some cases. The belief that you were in imminent danger could be subjective. The question of whether your belief and actions were reasonable is a question left to the jury.
If you are in your home, the presumption of reasonable fear is easier to establish. California is not a stand your ground state, but it does recognize your right to defend yourself while in your home.
Other Defenses to Murder Charges
There could be other defenses to murder charges, depending on the facts of the case. Potential defenses may include, but are not limited to:
- mistaken identity
- airtight alibis
- diminished capacity
If arrested for murder, the best defense begins with remaining silent. Do not talk to the police or the prosecutor. Remain silent until you talk to a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer.