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Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Manslaughter and homicide crimes are some of the most complex cases that are brought to Orange County courts, and an experienced Laguna Hills and Orange County murder defense attorney may be the difference between life in prison and reduced charges. It may be hard for a jury to look past feeling sympathy for the victims of crime, which is why it’s important to hire a lawyer who is persuasive and commanding in a trial setting.

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How Can a Laguna Hills and Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer Help?

Being charged with a violent crime can be terrifying for defendants who do not know the ins and outs of the Orange County courts. Tackling a violent crime case is not an easy undertaking, and shouldn’t be left up to lawyers without experience. Our team of defense attorneys has over 20 years of experience defending clients against criminal charges. Together, we will work to review your case, build a sound defense strategy and obtain the best outcome possible.
Manslaughter
Skilled Orange County manslaughter attorneys may be able to introduce one of these common defenses at your trial:

  • You acted in self-defense or in defense of others.
  • You cannot distinguish between right and wrong, and therefore may plead insanity.
  • The death was an accident.

In some homicide cases, manslaughter is used as an actual defense in order to reduce the charges. Some defendants will try to argue that a murder was not pre-mediated and occurred in the heat of the moment, therefore warranting manslaughter and not homicide charges.

Involuntary Manslaughter
Some of the most common defense strategies used by Laguna Hills and Orange County manslaughter attorneys against involuntary manslaughter charges include:

  • You acted in self-defense or in defense of others.
  • The death was an accident.
  • You were wrongly accused.
  • There is not enough evidence to support a conviction.

The prosecutor must be able to show that you acted negligently and as a result, someone was killed. Negligence is much more than just carelessness or poor judgment, so this is a difficult burden for them to prove.

Homicide
Of course, homicide cases are some of the most serious and intense of all legal matters. The outcome of the case could determine where a defendant will spend the rest of his or life, so every second matters in the courtroom. Laguna Hills and Orange County homicide attorneys may build a defense case using one of these common strategies:

  • You acted in self-defense or in defense of others.
  • The death was an accident.
  • You cannot distinguish between right and wrong, and therefore may plead insanity.
  • Your confession was made under duress or after being coerced.
  • The evidence that was collected was obtained illegally.
  • You’ve been falsely accused.

Every violent crime could carry serious consequences for you and your loved ones, including lengthy prison sentences and large fines. The experienced attorneys at The SoCal Law Network understand the gravity of these situations after being in the legal system for over two decades. When you’re facing such grave consequences, trust the team of top-rated trial lawyers at The SoCal Law Network.

What are Common Violent Crimes?

The three most common violent crimes are manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and murder/homicide.

Manslaughter
Manslaughter crimes, also known as heat of passion or voluntary manslaughter crimes, are murders that occur suddenly without premeditation, often in the heat of the moment during an argument. Defendants who are facing murder charges may seek to have their charges dropped to manslaughter, since this is a lesser charge.

The only difference between manslaughter and murder is that manslaughter occurs without “malice aforethought,” meaning you did not have the intent to kill or complete disregard for human life, whereas with murder, you did.

Because manslaughter is a crime that occurs in the heat of the moment, if the prosecution can prove that you had a reasonable amount of time to cool off and think rationally between the argument and the crime, you may be charged with murder.

Involuntary Manslaughter
In order to be convicted of committing involuntary manslaughter, the prosecution must prove that you:

  • Committed a lawful act in a negligent or unlawful manner, or committed a nonviolent felony, misdemeanor or infraction
  • Committed the crime with negligence
  • This criminal negligence led to the death of another person.

It’s important to know that if you killed someone while committing a violent felony, this would not be involuntary manslaughter, as the definition states it must be a nonviolent crime.

Involuntary manslaughter based on legal duty is similar to involuntary manslaughter, however it states that the accused failed to perform some sort of legal duty that resulted in death of the victim. This charge is common in parent-children or other caretaker relationships.

Homicide
Under California law, murder is defined as “the unlawful killing of a human being or fetus with malice aforethought.” Although a murder charge may seem like it is straightforward, there are a few different levels of homicide, depending on the specifics of the case:

  • First-degree murder occurs in one of two ways:
      The victim was killed using a destructive device, explosive or poison, or the accused was lying in wait to kill the victim.
      The killing was deliberate and premeditated.
  • Capital murder is a first-degree murder with “special circumstances” that change a first-degree charge to capital murder. Some of these special circumstances include:
      Murdering for financial gain
      Murdering multiple people
      Murdering a police officer, firefighter or other protected civilian officer
      Murdering a witness
      Hate crimes
  • Second-degree murder is willful, but not deliberate or premeditated.

Violent crime defendants will be aggressively prosecuted in Orange County courts, so they should be prepared with a team of skilled and persistent trial lawyers from The SoCal Law Network.

Orange County criminal defense lawyer

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What are the Penalties for Violent Crimes?

Each of these charges deals with the loss of a life, so the penalties that you may face if convicted may be severe compared to other nonviolent crimes.

Manslaughter
Because manslaughter is a violent crime, there are a number of factors that may go into determining a sentence. Penalties that you may face if you are convicted of manslaughter include:

  • A fine up of to $10,000
  • Up to 11 years in California state prison
  • No longer being able to legally own a firearm
  • Community service
  • Counseling

A manslaughter conviction also counts as one strike on your record in relation to the California three strikes law.

Involuntary Manslaughter
No matter the specifics of the case, involuntary manslaughter is always a felon in California. Penalties may include:

  • Formal probation
  • Up to four years in jail
  • A fine of up to $10,000

After dealing with a criminal court, the defendant may also face civil charges. The families of the victims have the right to file civil charges against the defendant to seek substantial restitution.

Homicide
Homicide or murder is perhaps the most serious of all charges that can be filed against a defendant. Penalties may vary depending on whether you were convicted of a first-degree, capital or second-degree murder:

  • First-degree murder convictions may result in a California state prison sentence of 25 years to life.
  • Capital murder convictions may result in a state prison sentence for life without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.
  • Second-degree murder charges may result in a state prison sentence of 15 years to life.

Each of these convictions also serves as a strike on your record that counts against you for the California three strike law.

What are the differences between murder, homicide, and manslaughter?

Murder is a killing committed with malice aforethought, which means the killing was an intention act and done with specific intent to kill another human being or fetus. A homicide can be either a murder or manslaughter and manslaughter is a killing committed without malice aforethought, or with a willful and wanton disregard for human life.

How are murder-related cases investigated and what evidence is needed for conviction?

Murder investigations are done by homicide investigators who seek to interrogate suspects and witnesses, gather physical evidence, collect DNA evidence though forensic scientists trained in the collection of evidence, and by the acquisition of admissions and confessions.

How can a criminal lawyer defend against murder charges?

Trying to find weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and undermine witness observations

What is homicide justified?

Homicide is also justifiable when committed by any person in any of the following cases:

1. When resisting any attempt to murder any person, or to commit a felony, or to do some great bodily injury upon any person; or,

2. When committed in defense of habitation, property, or person, against one who manifestly intends or endeavors, by violence or surprise, to commit a felony, or against one who manifestly intends and endeavors, in a violent, riotous or tumultuous manner, to enter the habitation of another for the purpose of offering violence to any person therein; or,

3. When committed in the lawful defense of such person, or of a wife or husband, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant of such person, when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony or to do some great bodily injury, and imminent danger of such design being accomplished; but such person, or the person in whose behalf the defense was made, if he was the assailant or engaged in mutual combat, must really and in good faith have endeavored to decline any further struggle before the homicide was committed; or,

4. When necessarily committed in attempting, by lawful ways and means, to apprehend any person for any felony committed, or in lawfully suppressing any riot, or in lawfully keeping and preserving the peace.

When is self-defense an acceptable defense?

When the facts demonstrate that the murder was as a result of an act of self-defense.

When should you hire a lawyer when facing murder, homicide or manslaughter charges?

Anytime you are charged with murder, homicide and/or manslaughter charges, you should hire a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney.

What to look for in an attorney for a murder, homicide or manslaughter charge?

Look for an assault and battery lawyer who has experience in defending those charged with such a crime.

What are the potential consequences of conviction?

Life in prison or the death penalty; not to mention an impact on the person’s ability to obtain employment, immigration status, voting rights, financial aid, government benefits and result in a jail or prison sentence.

Have you or a loved one been charged with committing a crime of violence? Contact the team at The SoCal Law Network to speak with a highly skilled Laguna Hills and Orange County criminal defense lawyer to defend you against the charges. Call 949-305-7995 to schedule a free consultation with our assault and battery lawyers today.