Murder, Homicide, & Violent Crimes

Murder, Homicide, and Violent Crimes

If you’re facing murder charges, you’re facing the most serious consequences in our judicial system. That’s why you need the very best attorney you can get.

A homicide is any death of a person caused by another individual, and the justice system draws distinctions between three large subcategories: intentional murder, manslaughter and justifiable homicide. Murder refers to cases in which a client is accused of intentionally killing the victim, and manslaughter applies to those instances in which the person is accused of acting recklessly, negligently or with a wanton disregard for human life. Justifiable homicides are those in which people are considered justified in defending themselves or others.

First-degree murder, the most serious type of murder in California, applies to instances where the victim was killed in one of the following ways:

  • By using a destructive device or explosive weapon of mass destruction, armor-piercing ammunition or poison
  • By lying in wait or using torture
  • By killing in a willful, deliberate and premeditated manner
  • By killing during a felony in which the death of another is a foreseeable consequence

California also recognizes capital murder, which is punishable by the death penalty. By statute, there are more than 20 scenarios that make a first-degree murder a death penalty-eligible offense. Second-degree murder is also recognized in those situations where the person is accused of intentionally killing the victim, but not in a manner that was premeditated.

California law also recognizes three types of manslaughter:

  • Voluntary manslaughter — Voluntary manslaughter applies to instances in which individuals kill victims spontaneously or in the heat of passion, such as during a sudden and intense fight.
  • Involuntary manslaughter — Voluntary manslaughter applies to situations in which someone kills a victim without malice and without intent to kill, but with a conscious disregard for human life.
  • Vehicular manslaughter —Vehicular manslaughter laws apply to drivers who kill people while driving in an unlawful manner, during the commission of lawful acts that may produce unlawful deaths.

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