Los Angeles Homicide Attorney

Los Angeles Homicide AttorneyHave you been arrested for murder in Los Angeles, CA? If so, you are facing 15 years to life in prison, potentially without the possibility of parole. Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty and deserve a vigorous legal defense to fight the charge you are facing.

For over 20 years, The Rodriguez Law Group has represented clients in Southern California facing homicide and manslaughter charges. We will fight for your freedom with a compassionate and aggressive defense strategy. Call our law firm today at (213) 995-6767 for a free consultation with a Los Angeles homicide attorney to begin working on your defense.

How Rodriguez Law Group Can Help if You’re Arrested for Homicide in Los Angeles

You may feel hopeless when facing a murder charge. California is known for its harsh sentencing, particularly in cases that involve firearms, violent offenses, and offenses under the notorious One Strike and Three Strike rules. You deserve an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who cares about you and fights for your freedom and constitutional rights.

Our founding attorney, Ambrosio E. Rodriguez, spent 13 years as a Senior Deputy District Attorney. He has a 10.0 Superb AVVO rating with decades of experience practicing criminal law. He will put his sterling track record and insight into the prosecution’s tactics to build the strongest defense possible.

Choose The Rodriguez Law Group to represent you in your homicide case in Los Angeles, California, and we will:

  • Protect your constitutional rights and offer insightful legal advice
  • Conduct an investigation to gather exculpatory evidence and assess the strength of the prosecution’s case against you
  • Work with experts in fields like DNA, eyewitness identification, and psychiatry to refute the state’s evidence, strengthen your defense, or build a case for dismissal or reduced charges
  • Determine if your constitutional rights were violated and seek to have evidence against you excluded
  • Seek options for a dismissal or reduction of the charges against you and options to avoid harsher sentencing for a strike offense
  • Present a strong and persuasive defense to a jury

While a homicide charge can be frightening, you are not alone and your case is not hopeless. Contact The Rodriguez Law Group today for a free consultation with an aggressive Los Angeles homicide attorney ready to fight for you.

Overview of Homicide in California

Homicide is considered the most serious of all violent crimes in California.

Homicide may be brought under three California statutes:

  • Penal Code 187 PC, California’s murder law and the most serious form of homicide
  • Penal Code 192 PC, voluntary manslaughter
  • Penal Code 192b PC, involuntary manslaughter

Voluntary manslaughter is rarely charged as a primary offense. It may be charged when someone is accused of murder but the charge is reduced to manslaughter. Voluntary manslaughter involves an unlawful killing in the heat of passion, during a sudden fight, or based on the honest but unreasonable belief the defendant needed self-defense.

Involuntary manslaughter is an unintentional homicide that occurs during a crime that is not a dangerous or violent felony. Here, there is no intent to kill.

The circumstances of the case will determine whether killing someone else is charged as murder or manslaughter.


Murder in California is charged for the unlawful killing of a human being or fetus with “malice aforethought.” This means that you committed an act with “wanton disregard for human life” that had a high chance of resulting in someone else’s death.

Murder is charged in two degrees: first and second.

First-degree murder is charged if:

  • The homicide was premeditated, deliberate, or willful,
  • The homicide was accomplished with a destructive device, poison, torture, lying in wait, or armor-piercing ammunition,
  • The homicide was committed during the commission of a number of serious felony crimes under California’s felony murder rule.

The new felony murder rule, signed into law in 2018, makes it felony murder if you:

  • Directly kill someone in the commission of a felony or attempted felony,
  • Aid and abet a killing,
  • Are a major participant in the homicide, or
  • Kill an on-duty peace officer.

It’s crucial to understand that this new felony murder law replaces an old felony murder rule that allowed conviction if a victim died during the commission of a felony, regardless of intent. Under the new law, you cannot be charged with felony murder if you did not intentionally kill someone during the commission of a crime.

If a murder is not a capital murder, felony murder, or first-degree murder, it is charged as second-degree murder.

Capital Murder

Capital murder in California is murder with “special circumstances.” There are nearly two dozen scenarios that may result in a capital murder charge, such as murder in a hate crime, murder for financial gain, murder of a witness to prevent testimony, and murder to benefit a street gang.

What Are the Penalties for Homicide in Los Angeles, California?

Homicide charges in Los Angeles carry the stiffest penalties available under California law.

If you are charged with murder, you may face:

  • 25 years to life in prison for first-degree murder or felony murder
  • 15 years to life for second-degree murder or felony murder
  • Life in state prison without the possibility of parole (LWOP)

LWOP may be sentenced depending on the circumstances of the crime and whether you are subject to sentencing enhancement like the One Strike or Three Strike rules.

Capital murder can be punished by the death penalty in California. However, Governor Newsom ordered a temporary moratorium on the use of the death penalty in California in 2019.

What Defenses Are Available if I’m Accused of Homicide in Los Angeles, CA?

Excusable & Justifiable Homicide in California

While killing another person generally leads to criminal charges, there are several California laws that hold that homicide is not always a crime.

To convict someone of murder, the state must prove:

  • The defendant caused the death of another person,
  • The defendant acted with malice aforethought, and
  • The defendant did not have a lawful justification or excuse for the killing.

Homicide may be considered excusable when someone kills another person accidentally while engaged in lawful behavior. Justifiable homicide refers to intentionally killing someone for a justifiable reason like self-defense.

Justifiable and excusable homicide may be legal defenses to a murder charge that lead to acquittal or dismissal.

Possible legal defenses in a murder case under these statutes include:

  • Self-defense or the defense of others. This defense is available if you believed you or someone else was in imminent danger of great bodily injury, death, or being raped or the victim of forcible crime.
  • Imperfect self-defense. If you killed someone due to an honest but unreasonable belief you were at risk of imminent harm, a murder charge can be reduced to voluntary manslaughter.
  • Accidental killing. If you did not have criminal intent to harm someone, were not acting with negligence, and you were otherwise engaged in lawful behavior, 187 PC allows for a defense that the killing was an accident.
  • Insanity defense. Under California law, defendants may plead “not guilty by reason of insanity.” The M’Naghten test is used as the legal standard. For the charge to be dismissed, the test must show that the defendant did not understand the nature of the offense and couldn’t distinguish right from wrong.
  • Mistaken identity. This is the leading cause of convictions of innocent people. Your Los Angeles murder defense attorney may demand a live lineup to determine if the witness can identify the defendant, challenge police procedures, and call an eyewitness identification specialist during the trial.

At The Rodriguez Law Group, we will investigate your case to determine if your constitutional rights were violated during the investigation, arrest, and questioning. Police are required to follow specific rules when interrogating a suspect. A false or coerced confession can be excluded from evidence. If evidence was obtained during an illegal search and seizure, we will seek to have the evidence excluded from trial.

Contact a Los Angeles Homicide Attorney for a Free Consultation

When you are facing a murder charge in Los Angeles, it’s crucial to act quickly to protect your rights and begin building a defense. Time is of the essence; call The Rodriguez Law Group for a free consultation with a Los Angeles homicide attorney today. We will aggressively defend you and seek reduced or dismissed charges, an acquittal at trial, or the most lenient sentencing allowed.

Our Los Angeles criminal defense law firm also provides:

Last Updated on September 22, 2022