Homicide Charges: Insight from a Murder Lawyer San Francisco CA Trusts
A murder lawyer in San Francisco, CA from The Morales Law Firm understands that a charge of homicide is one of the gravest criminal offenses a person can face. Mr. Morales has aggressively fought for his clients’ rights since 1991. If you have been accused of a homicide, it is vital that you know your rights, and start by consulting with a San Francisco, California murder lawyer for representation. We have fought and advocated for the community of those accused for many years. Seeking our counsel may be the best decision you ever make in regards to your future and obtaining freedom. If you are facing homicide charges, contact our law firm immediately to find out how we may be able to help.
This is not a case you will want to fight alone, and your future depends heavily on choosing a seasoned attorney to be at your defense throughout the court trial process. The judge and jury may have preconceived ideas about you and what happened. If this is the case, it is our job to bring to light evidence that may change their minds. By appointing a murder lawyer in San Francisco, CA from The Morales Law Firm, we can use aggressive legal strategies and can ensure all paperwork is filled properly. Additionally, we can be present for any interrogations to help ensure your statements reflect only in support of your defense and innocence.
Taking another human life if it is not in self-defense is a crime. But not all murder charges are the same. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the taking of another life, a person can find him- or herself charged with any one of a variety of homicide-related offenses. If you have not yet been charged, a murder lawyer in San Francisco, CA from The Morales Law Firm can review your case and determine what you’re likely facing.
Obviously, the more serious the homicide offense, the more severe the penalties a criminal defendant can expect. Aggressive and knowledgeable legal counsel can help defendants by arguing that the facts support a less-severe form of homicide. An experienced murder lawyer will make every effort to ensure their clients face the least severe penalties possible.
First-Degree Murder Charges
The charge of first-degree murder is brought when an individual kills another and:
- Intends to kill or cause great bodily harm to another or knows his or her actions will cause death to that other individual;
- Knows his or her actions create a “strong probability” that the other individual will be killed or suffer great bodily harm; or
- He or she is committing a forcible felony.
First-degree murder can be punished by death or imprisonment for one’s natural life if one or more aggravating factors are found. If not, a defendant may be sentenced to a minimum of 20 years and as many as 100 years in prison. For this reason, it’s critical to hire a skilled murder lawyer in San Francisco, CA from The Morales Law Firm.
Second-Degree Murder Charges
Second-degree murder is an unlawful and unjustified killing of another that occurs:
- When the person kills the other under a an intense and sudden reaction resulting from serious provocation coming from the individual killed; or
- When the offender believes the facts and circumstances were such that the killing would be exonerated or justified.
Second-degree murder can be punished by a minimum of four years in prison up to 20 years of imprisonment. Depending on the specifics of your case, a murder lawyer in San Francisco, CA from The Morales Law Firm can provide you with how a conviction may affect you.
Involuntary Manslaughter and Reckless Homicide Charges
Further down the list of homicide offenses are involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide. Involuntary manslaughter is when the killing is unintentional but the defendant acts in a way that death or great bodily harm is likely to occur.
Reckless homicide occurs when an unintentional death results from reckless acts likely to cause death or great bodily harm. These offenses can result in a minimum of three years in prison up to 14 years in most cases. Clearly, a conviction can mean a long time in prison. A murder lawyer in San Francisco, CA from The Morales Law Firm may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed.
A Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
Being charged with a homicide-related offense is serious. If you find yourself charged with such an offense, you need aggressive and competent counsel. Homicide-related offenses are very dependent on the facts, and even small or seemingly-unimportant facts can mean the difference between a few years in prison or facing the death penalty.
Call Mr. Morales, a murder lawyer in San Francisco, CA from The Morales Law Firm to set up free consultation.
Seek One Of San Francisco’s Finest Criminal Defense Law Firms
If you’re in need of a murder lawyer San Francisco, CA trusts, contact our top-notch criminal defense firm. Our criminal defense team is comprised of caring, compassionate, and dedicated staff. We tirelessly look at every aspect of your case, to ensure we prepare the best possible defense.
San Francisco criminal law attorneys at The Morales Law Firm fully understand the techniques and tactics used by the prosecution and are prepared to build a solid defense for you.
To have the best chance of winning your case, you need a murder lawyer in San Francisco, CA who will…
-Investigate the scene of the arrest thoroughly in search of evidence to use in your defense.
-Be honest and forthright with you about your case throughout the entire proceeding
-Work diligently to get your charges reduced or dropped altogether
-While murder charges come with harsh penalties regardless of the circumstance, there are certain factors that can make a sentence you face worse, like:
- If the defendant has more than one murder conviction
- If the murder accompanied another crime such as rape, robbery or arson
- If the victim murdered was a law enforcement officer
- If the murder involved torture
- If the defendant ambushed his or her victim
- If the defendant is a gang member
- If the murder involved any explosive materials
What is the difference between Murder and Manslaughter?
Murder is defined as the unlawful and unjustified killing of another human being with malice aforethought (Penal Code Section 187). “Malice aforethought” is defined as an intention to unlawfully kill a human being. That intention can be either expressed (such as pulling out a gun and pointing it at a person and pulling the trigger after making a statement that they are going to kill the person) or implied by the actions.
Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought (Penal Code Section 192 PC). Manslaughter may be voluntary or involuntary. Essentially, the difference between manslaughter and murder is that manslaughter is the result of an accident, heat of passion, or some other act in which the person does not have the mental state to commit a murder.
A San Francisco murder lawyer’s task is to challenge and dispute the state’s evidence against you so there is reasonable doubt as to your guilt. The Morales Law Firm will use every available legal tool and resource on your behalf.
An aggressive murder lawyer San Francisco, California can present the following defenses in a murder case:
- Third Party Culpability
- Battered Person’s Syndrome
- Proximate Cause of Death
- Reasonable Doubt as to the Elements of the Crime
- Heat of Passion
1st Degree Murder – 25 years to Life
2nd Degree Murder – 15 years to Life
Voluntary Manslaughter – 3, 6, 11 years in the State Prison
Involuntary Manslaughter – 2, 3, or 4 years in the State Prison
Standard Homicide Case Types
- Involuntary Manslaughter. A crime of killing another person unintentionally, but as a result of an unlawful act.
- Voluntary Manslaughter (or known as 3rd Degree Murder). A crime of killing another person as a result of an unlawful act that does not include premeditation of murder.
- 1st Degree Murder. A crime which involves an intentional act of murder with premeditation.
- 2nd Degree Murder. A crime of intentional murder but was not premeditated.
- Vehicular Manslaughter. A crime which involves the death of someone that is not the driver at fault, due to negligence or intent.
With the assistance of a San Francisco, CA murder lawyer from The Morales Law Firm, we can determine which homicide category is most applicable to the act you are being accused of. In addition, we can create a foundation for how we plan to get your case completely dropped. If that is not possible, we can do everything imaginable to prevent immense fees or significant jail time being served. We do not believe your entire life should be ruined as a result of a homicide accusation. We can work endlessly on your behalf and can aim to reclaim your freedom sooner than later.
Will Hiring A Lawyer Suggest I’m Guilty?
No. Popular crime shows and TV dramas may have you under the impression that hiring a defense lawyer for murder makes you look guilty, but that’s not true. As a murder lawyer San Francisco CA residents depend on from the Morales Law Firm would advise, if the police have arrested you or even questioned you, it’s in your best interest to take the matter seriously. The police only question people they believe have a tie to the case and solving the murder mystery. If they visit you more than once or seem to ask you questions that make you alarmed they’re trying to build a case against you to get a warrant for your arrest, call a murder lawyer.
Is A Defense Attorney Different From A Public Defender?
This is a common question, and an absolute “yes” or “no” wouldn’t paint an accurate picture. Both attorneys and public defenders are law-school-trained and have passed The Bar. Public defenders are attorneys. However, PDs don’t own a practice. Therefore, PDs don’t share the same interests. If we lose a case, it affects our client base, Google reviews, ratings by lawyerly groups, and business reputation. If a public defender loses, the government supplies them with dozens more clients. Not to mention, a hired lawyer has more discretion, time, and zeal about your personal case whereas public defenders are often overworked with more cases than they can manage.
Can I Serve As My Own Murder Lawyer?
Yes, you have a right to act as your own murder lawyer in San Francisco, and anywhere else in California, if you’d prefer. However, serving as your own criminal defense attorney is not advisable. Even attorneys who the state accused of crimes hire other lawyers to represent them. There are disadvantages to representing yourself, as a San Francisco murder lawyer knows, such as:
- being too emotionally involved to create compelling, strategic, evidence-based arguments
- not having an understanding of the law
- exhaustion from working on your case and maneuvering your daily tasks
- jurors being less likely to find you credible
- an increased risk of making errors in and out of court
What If I Don’t Remember The Murder?
It is a possibility that you don’t remember the night of the incident at all. A lack of memory doesn’t make you more or less likely to be found guilty. Neither does a lack of memory prove that you’re a liar. However, it also doesn’t prove that you’re innocent. Whether you were at the crime scene and don’t recall what happened or were away from the crime scene and don’t recall what you were doing that day, this happens. Often, victims or those traumatized by violent events block the memory of the event. If this happens to you, we will assess how relevant it is to your defense and strategize how to help.
Does San Francisco California Allow The “Sleepwalking” Defense?
The sleepwalking defense is an affirmative defense, meaning that you confess to having committed the murder. But as our San Francisco lawyer murder team would explain, affirmative defenses still serve as a complete defense because they argue that they’re a justifiable or qualifying reason for your actions that absconded you of culpability. You’re not criminally culpable if you lacked the criminal intent to commit the crime, and you couldn’t have that intent if you committed the crime while sleepwalking. The sleepwalking defense has successfully drawn not-guilty verdicts. You may use the sleepwalking defense in San Francisco. Expert scientists will testify on your behalf and your medical history may be revealed in court.
Your first consultation at The Morales Law Firm is completely free. It is important you have someone to protect you in every step of this trial. Your life and future depends on hiring a qualified and capable attorney who will not back down when times get tough in the courtroom. There will be challenges, and we can face them with you. Do not hesitate, as we are ready to speak with you now. We can be a trustworthy confidant who only has the best of intentions for your future.
Murder: Is There a Successful Legal Defense Strategy?
If you were arrested for causing someone’s death, you might wonder if your criminal defense lawyer can get you exonerated based on a self-defense plea. At The Morales Law Firm we have over 25 years of combined experience representing the accused for all manner of crimes. Do not wait until after your arraignment to contact a murder lawyer in San Francisco CA. Call us today. After a brief consultation at no charge to you, we can assess your case. If we take your case, we can begin protecting your rights immediately.
Determination of the Facts
If you were accused of a crime that you did not commit, a murder lawyer from The Morales Law Firm can examine the facts. Depending on the circumstances of the case, this might include any or all of the following:
- Tracking down witnesses and recording their testimony about relevant events. Your criminal defense lawyer may take their testimonies during a deposition and may call on them in court if the case is not dismissed or plea bargained to a lesser charge.
- Taking photos of the crime scene and any physical items of note. For example, if you were accused of hiding behind a pillar lying in wait for the victim before you killed them, but there are no pillars at that location, your criminal defense lawyer will visually show that.
- Subjecting police evidence to an independent testing lab. If bodily fluids of any kind were left at the crime scene and were collect by the crime scene investigators, your murder lawyer in San Francisco CA may choose to submit them to a third party lab to verify that the police lab’s results were accurate.
- Verifying other physical evidence at the scene such as fingerprints, hair, DNA, etc. As much as is practical and possible, your criminal defense lawyer will independently verify the evidence to determine if it corroborates the prosecutor’s case or bolsters your version of what happened.
- Determining the factors that throw reasonable doubt into the prosecutor’s assertion that you are guilty of killing the victim. Perhaps you have an ironclad alibi during the time of the murder. Maybe your criminal defense lawyer calls on medical experts who will provide compelling testimony that you were not physically capable of overwhelming the victim and did not have the capacity to kill them in the manner in which they died.
When possible, your San Francisco CA murder lawyer may encourage you to accept a plea bargain. In exchange for avoiding a lengthy prison sentence, it may be in your best interests to accept a lesser charge. This can be true even in cases where the accused did absolutely nothing. This is because of how our justice system sometimes works. It isn’t fair to the accused, and we will make every effort to get your charges dismissed if possible.
Dismissal of the Charges
When possible, your criminal defense lawyer will work to convince the prosecutor that it’s a waste of their office’s resources to continue pursuing a case against you. This can sometimes be accomplished when your defense case shows without any doubt that you could not possibly have killed the victim.
Murder Lawyer – San Francisco, CA
The experienced San Francisco, CA murder lawyer team and support staff at Morales Law Firm has extensive experience aggressively defending the rights of those who have been accused of murder. Connect with us today to begin building the strongest possible defense on behalf of yourself or a loved one who has been accused of this crime.
Criminal vs. Civil Liability for Murder
It is important to understand that those who have been accused of murder must usually navigate two different legal systems in response to their situation. First, the criminal legal system will seek to hold them accountable for “crimes against the state.” This means that a government-paid prosecutor will seek to hold the accused accountable for breaking the law. The criminal legal process is not primarily concerned with the victims of a crime. It is, instead, concerned with the violation of law that led to this moment in time.
Regardless of how one’s criminal case is resolved, the surviving loved ones of the alleged murder victim may also seek to hold the accused liable for the loss of the victim. They can accomplish this end by filing a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court. The criminal justice system and civil law system are distinct. As a result, the outcome of your criminal case will not affect the ability of the surviving loved ones of the victim to hold you accountable in civil court. If they succeed in their action, you will not be sentenced to imprisonment for the alleged harm that you caused. Only a criminal law judge can sentence you to imprisonment. Instead, you’d be ordered to pay the victim’s family compensation for their loss.
Legal Assistance Is Available
If you or a loved one has been charged with murder—or you’re concerned that you’ll be charged with murder at some point—it’s time to connect with the experienced California team at Morales Law Firm. Homicide is one of the most serious crimes prosecuted in the U.S. As a result, you cannot afford to roll the dice by relying on a public defender appointed by the courts. While public defenders are often noble people who do noble work, they are notoriously overburdened and are unlikely to provide you with the personalized, aggressive, and dedicated representation that you deserve.
Connect with us today to learn more about your rights, options, and our firm’s approach to representation. If you choose to work with our legal team, we will craft the strongest possible defense on your behalf. Call now.
If you or someone you love is arrested for murder, let The Morales Law Firm provide you with competent counsel. Call today or fill out this simple online Contact Form for a free, no-obligation consultation with a murder lawyer San Francisco, CA community members counts on for trusted legal guidance.
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