Los Angeles Homicide Attorney

If you’re facing a homicide charge in Los Angeles, California, the stress and uncertainty of your situation can be overwhelming. In such scenarios, securing competent legal representation becomes not just prudent but crucial.

Murder charges and capital murder convictions come with severe penalties like lengthy prison terms – and even life imprisonment. Your freedom is at stake, but all hope is not lost. Los Angeles homicide cases can be complicated, which is why we always recommend contacting an experienced Los Angeles murder defense lawyer near you.

With more than 50 years of combined legal experience, our Los Angeles homicide attorneys are well-equipped to guide you through this challenging journey. We will do whatever we can to protect you. We’re here to represent, support, and defend your rights every step of the way.

If you need help with a murder charge in Los Angeles, California, or you’re confused about the felony murder rule, contact The Rodriguez Law Group to schedule a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Los Angeles Homicide Attorney

How The Rodriguez Law Group Can Help if You’re Arrested for Murder in Los Angeles, California

Facing a homicide charge in Los Angeles can be one of the most stressful experiences in your life. The stakes are high; having experienced legal representation could make all the difference.

If you work with us, our Los Angeles murder defense lawyers near you will take the following steps to help you:

  • Explain the Charges: We will thoroughly explain your charges and potential penalties with a conviction. We will also go through the police report with you so you know exactly what the allegations are.
  • Investigate and Review Evidence: We will review evidence like the police report and anything relevant given to us by the prosecution. We will also conduct our own investigation to uncover anything that was overlooked, or that could be used in your defense. This includes speaking to witnesses, looking for video/surveillance footage, or verifying an alibi.
  • Build a Defense Strategy: Once we have collected all relevant facts and evidence related to your case, our focus shifts toward developing an in-depth legal strategy to undermine the prosecution’s case and raise reasonable doubt.
  • Negotiate Plea Deals: Many criminal cases end in a plea deal instead of going to trial. We will speak with the prosecutor handling your case and present mitigating evidence to secure a favorable plea bargain. Accepting a deal and pleading guilty is your decision alone, but we will present all options.

If you’ve been arrested for homicide in Los Angeles, we’ll do everything we can to secure the most favorable outcome. Contact The Rodriguez Law Group to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Los Angeles murder defense attorney.

Homicide and Capital Murder in California

How The Rodriguez Law Group Can Help If You’re Arrested for Homicide in Los Angeles, CA

Navigating homicide charges in California requires a fundamental understanding of the different crimes that fall under this category.

Homicide entails the following charges:

Murder Charge

Penal Code 187 PC, California’s murder law, and the most serious form of homicide. Murder is defined as intentionally causing the death of a human or fetus with “malice aforethought.”

Malice can either be expressed – meaning the deliberate taking of a life – or implied – acting without any considerable provocation. It means it was a premeditated murder.

To prove murder, prosecutors must show beyond a reasonable doubt that the act demonstrated a wanton disregard for human life, it was likely to cause death, and there was no lawful justification for it.

Voluntary Manslaughter

Penal Code 192 PC, voluntary manslaughter. Voluntary manslaughter refers to cases where someone kills another person in a moment of strong emotion or during a sudden dispute – most commonly known as “in the heat of passion.” There’s no need to prove malice aforethought for such charges.

Involuntary Manslaughter

Penal Code 192b PC, involuntary manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter charges are brought when someone accidentally causes a death while carrying out a misdemeanor. Vehicular manslaughter charges can also be brought if the defendant’s actions were lawful but resulted in the death of another due to negligence. Sometimes a DUI offense is related.

Vehicular manslaughter occurs when a person causes the death of another individual through illegal driving of an automobile, such as driving recklessly or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This charge is used in situations where the driver’s conduct was negligent or criminally negligent but does not rise to the level of intent required for a murder charge.

The specific definitions and requirements can vary by jurisdiction, but generally, they apply to deaths that result from a driver’s careless actions on the road without the intent to kill.

Felony Murder

Felony murder is a serious charge in California. To be convicted, prosecutors must show that a killing took place and one of several conditions applied:

  • The defendant helped or encouraged the killing;
  • The defendant played a substantial role in the act of homicide;
  • Someone was killed during the commission or attempted commission of a felony crime; or
  • An on-duty peace officer was killed.

Being charged with any of the above offenses necessitates immediate help from an experienced Los Angeles murder defense attorney who can provide essential legal guidance throughout the process.

Capital Murder

Capital murder, also known as capital crime or a crime punishable by death, refers to particularly heinous and serious murders that make the perpetrator eligible for the death penalty under specific state laws.

Some examples of cases that could warrant capital murder charges include:

  • Murders involving multiple victims or mass killings
  • Murders involving torture or extreme brutality as a deliberate act
  • Murders of children, law enforcement officers, or other specific protected classes
  • Murders committed concerning other felonies like robbery, rape, or kidnapping
  • Premeditated or contracted killings
  • Murders involving affiliation with criminal organizations

The criteria that elevate a murder charge to a potential capital murder charge varies by state but generally requires extremely aggravating circumstances or specific classes of victims.

Criminal defense attorneys in Los Angeles County provide a strong defense strategy for premeditated killing, vehicular manslaughter, people with prior convictions, and any person accused of any type of murder case of a human being.

What Are the Penalties Under California Law for a Homicide Conviction in Los Angeles County, California?

Los Angeles homicide attorney near you

In California, penalties for homicide convictions are severe and vary depending on the degree of crime.

  • If convicted of first-degree or felony murder, you could face a sentence ranging from 25 years to life in prison.
  • For second-degree murder convictions (and some felony murder charges), the term can span 15 years to life.
  • Voluntary manslaughter typically carries a lesser yet still substantial penalty of up to 11 years of imprisonment.
  • Involuntary manslaughter attracts less harsh but still substantial penalties of between two and four years in prison.
  • The death penalty, or capital punishment, is no longer allowed to be carried out in California as of 2019.

These stark realities highlight how crucial it is to engage an experienced Los Angeles homicide lawyer near you if ever confronted with potential murder accusations.

Collateral Consequences

The collateral consequences of a homicide conviction in Los Angeles County, California, can have severe, lifelong effects. Besides the major penalties like prison time and financial fines, you could also experience court-mandated parole upon release.

A criminal record resulting from a homicide conviction also follows you around for your lifetime. This might lead to difficulties when searching for jobs or housing due to background checks that employers and landlords conduct.

If you are not an American citizen, homicide charges or any violent crimes could compromise your immigration status, and deportation proceedings could follow. Professional licenses may also be rescinded, hindering future employment opportunities within specific fields.

The damage extends beyond tangible impacts. A homicide conviction can drastically affect personal relationships and reputations within your community, making life after serving time all the more challenging.

For these reasons, we recommend contacting a top-rated Los Angeles homicide attorney near you.

What Defenses Can Be Raised If I’m Arrested for Homicide in Los Angeles?

When facing a murder charge or unlawful and unjustified killing of any kind, it’s essential to understand the possible legal defenses available to you. Some of the most common include:

Insufficient Evidence

A fundamental principle of criminal law is that the prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Your Los Angeles murder attorney will meticulously scrutinize the prosecution’s case in search of flaws or discrepancies that can raise doubt among jury members.

Insufficient evidence means that there isn’t enough evidence to prosecute. A prosecutor may claim the person accused unlawfully killed someone for financial gain but not possess the evidence to prove it.

Absence of Malice Aforethought

Malice aforethought is a required element of first-degree murder. In some circumstances, your homicide attorney may argue the absence of malice aforethought to reduce the charges from first-degree murder to a lesser offense.


In a homicide case, self-defense can be used as a legal strategy. This defense relies on your assertion that you acted out of genuine fear for your safety and had to use force to prevent impending harm.

To succeed with this defense, your behavior must align with what any reasonable person would do in the same situation. Use of deadly force is only justified if you face imminent death or severe injury or it is deemed an unlawful killing.

Mistaken Identity

Mistaken identity is a potential defense strategy that can be employed in a murder trial when there is reasonable doubt that the accused individual is the actual perpetrator of the crime.

In such cases, the defense may present evidence that casts doubt on eyewitness accounts or physical evidence used to identify the defendant.

This could include alibis, discrepancies in descriptions, or proof that someone else had the motive and opportunity to commit the murder.

If the defense can successfully raise doubts about the prosecution’s ability to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is indeed the person responsible, it could lead to an acquittal.

Mistaken identity defenses can be challenging, and the prosecution ultimately has the burden of proof to demonstrate the defendant’s guilt.

Actual Innocence

If you are genuinely innocent of the murder charges, your criminal defense attorney will need to present compelling evidence to prove your innocence. This could include alibis, contradictory evidence, or even new evidence discovered by your attorney or investigative team.

Challenging the Credibility of Witnesses and Evidence

Your criminal defense attorney may also work to challenge the credibility of witnesses or the viability of forensic evidence, such as DNA, fingerprints, or ballistic evidence.

By exposing flaws, inconsistencies, or biases in witness testimony and forensic evidence, your criminal defense attorney can create doubt about the prosecution’s case, significantly impacting the trial’s outcome.

Filing Motions to Exclude Evidence

Evidence used against you might have been collected unlawfully. Your criminal defense lawyer can file a motion to suppress such evidence from trial proceedings when this occurs. If successful, this can severely weaken the prosecution’s case.

Contact a Los Angeles Murder Defense Attorney Near You for a Free Consultation

Los Angeles murder defense lawyer

Being charged with homicide is a complex and frightening situation to find yourself in, and seeking help from qualified legal professionals is crucial. If you work with us, we can guide you through the process, protect your rights, and help implement a strong defense strategy.

We help by defending people accused of murder in Los Angeles.

For help understanding the felony murder law or felony murder rule, the criminal justice system, violent crimes, criminal defense cases, or white-collar crimes, contact The Rodriguez Law Group to schedule a free case review with a Los Angeles County homicide attorney.

We provide a free consultation at our law offices because we want you to understand your options thoroughly.

Our Los Angeles criminal defense law firm also provides:

Los Angeles Homicide Lawyer Review


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