Facing a Murder Charge?
According to the LA Times, South Los Angeles was in the spotlight after social media rumors promised 100 days and 100 nights of retaliation after a 27 year old man was shot and killed there. These rumors were sparked during a surge in gang violence.
It is well known that crime in the city of Los Angeles has been a major problem and concern for its citizens since the early 20th century. While 2012 marked the tenth straight year that crime had declined in Los Angeles, the crime rate is now steadily increasing following recent events of well-publicized homicides.
What is Homicide?
California Penal Code 187 governs homicides and states that the term homicide is an umbrella term that encompasses all takings of human life by another. Homicide consists of murder in the first and second degrees as well as voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.
The crime charged depends on the elements of the case and the jury has the ultimate decision as to the validity of the charges after hearing the prosecution and defense case in chief. Whether a homicide is deemed lawful or unlawful depends on the facts of the case and the burden is on the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the homicide was unlawful.
If it is deemed that the homicide was lawful then no crime has been committed and the defendant may be given a “not guilty” verdict.
What Are the Consequences of Homicide?
There are several consequences that arise from a conviction of homicide. These consequences depends on the charge of the defendant, which can consist of:
Murder in the First Degree: If one is charged with murder in the first degree, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused acted willfully, deliberately, and with premeditation. California’s law states that every person guilty of murder in the first degree shall be punished by death, imprisonment in the state prison for life without the possibility of parole, or imprisonment in the state prison for a term of 25 years to life.
Murder in the Second Degree: Murder in the second degree consist of all murders that do not qualify as first degree murder. The consequences that arise from a second degree murder charge is imprisonment of 15 years to life and increases to 20 years if the defendant killed the victim while shooting a firearm from a motor vehicle as well as increases to 25 years if the victim was a peace officer.
Voluntary Manslaughter: Voluntary manslaughter is a provocation crime. It is a killing that a defendant commits upon a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion. A conviction of voluntary manslaughter consists of imprisonment for 3, 6, or 11 years in state prison.
Involuntary Manslaughter: Involuntary manslaughter is an unintentional homicide that occurs during the commission of a non-felony crime or reckless conduct during lawful activities. A conviction of involuntary manslaughter consists of imprisonment for 2, 3, or 4 years in county jail or state prison.
With each of these homicidal crimes, the length of imprisonment depends on the severity of the crime and like all other crimes, there are legal defenses that may be applicable to your case, such as:
- Involuntary intoxication
- Defense of others
- Heat of passion
- Lack of mental capacity
Need Legal Help?
If you or a loved one has been charged with homicide, whether it is murder in the first or second degree, voluntary manslaughter, or involuntary manslaughter, your freedom is on the line. A homicide case requires a level of experience and preparation that can only be acquired through dedication and commitment and seeking a criminal defense attorney that is experienced in this area can be extremely beneficial for you. There are many defenses that may be applicable to your case and The Rodriguez Law Group is here to help. Please contact us now so that we can help to fight for your freedom.