Murder Defense Lawyer in Los Angeles
Arrested for murder? Hire a firm with 70+ years of experience.
If you have been accused of murder in Los Angeles, your future is on the
line. A first degree murder conviction can result in life imprisonment
without the possibility of parole. The
death penalty may even be imposed in certain cases, though an inmate has not been executed
in California since 2006. The future of capital punishment in our state
is currently in doubt, but defendants are still sentenced to death and
may face years or decades on death row while waiting to see if their sentences
will be carried out.
Regardless of whether you are facing capital punishment or life imprisonment,
it is imperative that you have an effective criminal defense lawyer by
your side. At Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners,
we have more than 70 years of combined experience and know exactly what it takes to fight for our clients' freedom.
In fact, our firm is backed by an impressive record of successful case
results. Don't wait any longer to get the help you need; contact our
office today to
schedule your free consultation.
Challenging First & Second Degree Murder Charges
To commit a "homicide" is to kill someone, either lawfully or
unlawfully. Murder is one type of homicide, and is the most serious criminal
offense associated with this act. According to
California Penal Code §187, murder is defined as killing someone (including a fetus) with malice
aforethought. This may be described as the intent to kill or cause bodily
injury, or to act with a wanton disregard for human life.
Malice may either be express or implied:
Express malice – the defendant intends to kill the victim
Implied malice – the defendant intends to cause serious bodily injury or to commit
an act that clearly endangers life, without provocation
In the face of allegations, a criminal investigation or formal charges
involving murder, the most important thing that you can do is retain the
services of a competent attorney. Only the most highly skilled criminal
defense lawyers in Los Angeles can mount an effective defense against
such serious charges. At Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners, we are confident
in our ability to successfully handle these cases.
First Degree Murder Law in California
First degree murder is an unlawful killing that is willful, deliberate
and premeditated. "Felony murder" is also considered to be first
degree murder. Felony murder includes any murder that is carried out while
committing or attempting to commit another felony offense like
robbery, mayhem, carjacking,
kidnapping, train wrecking, rape, sodomy (and a variety of other sex crimes) or a
drive-by shooting. First degree murder with "special circumstances"
is the highest-level homicide offense.
California Penal Code Section 190.2 describes "special circumstances" as:
- Murder of more than one victim
- Murder in exchange for financial compensation
- Murder of a law enforcement officer or firefighter
- Murder of a judge, prosecutor or elected official
- Murder of another based on race, religion, etc.
- Murder of a witness to prevent their testimony
- Murder of a child under the age of six
The punishment for first degree murder is 25 years to life in prison. The
penalty for first degree murder with special circumstances, also known
as "capital murder," is death or life in prison without the
possibility of parole (LWOP). The first degree felony murder rule could
also apply to your case if another person was killed in the commission
of a different felony offense, like kidnapping, robbery,
carjacking, arson, torture, mayhem, etc.—even if the death was not in furtherance
of the underlying felony.
Second Degree Murder Law in California
Second degree murder also requires malice and acting intentionally, but
it does not require premeditation and deliberation. Examples of second
degree murder include:
- Using a deadly weapon in a fight that results in death, without a valid defense
- Swinging a baseball bat at a victim that accidentally hits them and results in death
- Shooting a gun without intent to kill into a crowded room and killing someone
- Driving a car in an extremely dangerous manner that results in another's death
Essentially, second degree murder is any murder that isn't defined
as first degree murder. The punishment for second degree murder is 15
years to life in prison.
Additional Penalties That May Be Imposed
Apart from being sentenced to several decades in prison, you could face
a wide range of other legal penalties if you are convicted of first or
second degree murder in the state of California. If a firearm was used
in the commission of the murder, 10, 20 or 25 years could be added to
your sentence. You would also
receive a "strike" on your criminal record upon conviction, and may be asked to pay victim
restitution and fines up to $10,000. Furthermore, you would lose the right
to own or possess a firearm.
Our Firm Will Be By Your Side from Start to Finish
In murder cases, prosecutors will use all of their resources and influence
to get a conviction. Without the assistance of an experienced criminal
defense attorney, defendants face serious and sometimes overwhelming challenges.
Any misstep in the process – pre-trial hearings, investigations,
preliminary hearing, negotiations, motions, trial or sentencing –
can have profound, lifelong effects for the defendant. If you have been
charged murder, it might seem like the prosecutors have the advantage.
Having an experienced and skilled criminal lawyer is critical. The right
attorney can level the playing field, protecting your constitutional rights
and seeking the best possible result. To find out how we can help, contact
a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners.
As soon as you contact our firm for a free initial consultation, we can
put seven decades of combined experience to work for your defense.
Don't wait any longer to take the first step! Call now at (213) 481-6811.