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San Diego Murder/Manslaughter Defense

Murder, manslaughter, justifiable homicide, and criminally negligent homicide are all forms of homicide, with varying levels of penalties. Homicide is not a crime when it is legal or justified, such as carrying out the death penalty after a person has been sentenced, killing someone when forced to defend oneself from an attack, or when a law enforcement officer is required to kill in the line of duty. Even if you were defending yourself, this assertion could be heavily challenged by the prosecution.

Manslaughter Charges in San Diego, CA

Manslaughter is a form of homicide that is accidental, unintentional, or that has no malice aforethought. The thing which sets manslaughter apart from murder is that manslaughter is not premeditated or planned in any way. Manslaughter is usually categorized into two categories: voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. Vehicular manslaughter is another well-known crime that is actually a form of involuntary manslaughter.

Voluntary manslaughter usually refers to a homicide committed in the heat of passion, often provoked by the actions of the victim. For example, Warren comes home to find his wife, Sally, in bed with another man. Warren grabs his gun from the nightstand drawer and shoots the man, killing him. This would usually be qualified as voluntary manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter would include a homicide that is accidental, unintentional, or the result of negligent conduct. Causing a deadly car accident while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) would be a form of involuntary manslaughter.

Murder Charges in San Diego, CA

In California, certain murder charges will carry the death penalty for anyone convicted. If a murder is committed due to a hate crime or if a person murders a judge or police officer, he or she will face the death penalty. A typical first degree murder charge carries a sentence of 25 years to life in state prison—or possibly the death penalty. A second degree murder charge carries a state prison sentence of 15 years to life.

Are You the Target of a Homicide Investigation?

If you are under investigation, it is important that you exercise your constitutional rights:

  • You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to talk to law enforcement officers and you do not have to give them permission to search your property unless they have a warrant.
  • You also have the right to an attorney. With a San Diego criminal lawyer on your side, you will be advised in any questioning and protected from unintentionally damaging your case.

In homicide cases, there is a great deal of attention by law enforcement, city officials, and the D.A. to identify and convict the perpetrator. In fact, the attention can be so aggressive that the wrong person can be charged, whether based on a witness statement or in a police line-up.

Your attorney will be present to protect you in any interrogation, to ensure that your rights are actively protected. It is easy for someone who does not know the law or his or her rights to make self-incriminating statements or otherwise damage the chances for a favorable outcome.

San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney: Fighting Back in Court

James N. Dicks is a San Diego homicide attorney who has been actively involved in the criminal field for more than 30 years. His background and experience as a police detective as well as a public defender has given him a great insight into the criminal justice process, how to protect a client, and how to fight to defend the criminally accused. Read the firm's case results and credentials so you understand the depth of experience and successes of the firm.

JD Law
San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer
11622 El Camino Real, Suite 101, San Diego, CA 92130
(619) 377-3722 | (760) 630-2000
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