Los Angeles Homicide Lawyers
There is no more serious charge in the California penal code than that of taking the life of another human being. In most circumstances, a conviction means a long prison sentence. Some cases can result in the death penalty. Our Los Angeles homicide lawyer strives to provide personalized attention and aggressive counsel. We will carefully review all the evidence, explain a defendant’s rights under the law, and fight to ensure they receive a fair trial. Above all, we believe in our clients, even those who may have been abandoned by those closest to them.
Saffari Law Group offers attorneys with over 18 years of experience fighting criminal defense charges, including homicide and we’ve built up a track record of success that clients can rely on.
Call today at (310) 341-7970 or reach out here online to set up a consultation.
The Penalties for Murder in California
The exact sentencing guidelines depend on what specific murder charges was filed by the District Attorney’s office. What’s important to understand is that California law, still unfortunately harsh in nature, has several ways that sentences can be made even more severe, beyond the basic prison term guidelines provided in the penal code. For example:
- The state of California still uses “Three Strikes” sentencing enhancement. This means there are certain crimes, of which homicide is one, where if it constitutes a defendant’s third conviction, the judge is obliged to issue a sentence of no less than 25 years in prison and perhaps a lifetime behind bars. This includes cases ,which does include certain homicide charges, where the standard sentencing guidelines may otherwise be less than that.
- Prison sentences can also be enhanced by other factors, including involvement in gang activity, hate crimes, injuring the elderly, or using a firearm or other dangerous weapon.
- Even upon release or parole, a convicted defendant may still see their rights curtailed. This includes a loss of gun rights, professional licensing, child custody, and perhaps a mandate to make restitution to the victim’s family.
Facing charges from the District Attorney’s office can be a scary time. At Saffari Law Group, we understand how to navigate the process and protect our clients.
Call our Los Angeles homicide attorney today at (310) 341-7970 or just fill out our online contact form, and let’s set up a free consultation.
Defenses Against Murder Charges
Every case is different. That’s just one reason why Saffari Law Group is committed to treating every client like they’re the only one that comes through our doors. We’re structured so as to be able to give each case the intensely personal attention it deserves. The defense strategy our clients are relying on to protect their freedom will be shaped by what’s found in our diligent investigative process.
That said, there are some general defenses that are often available to lawyers, including the following:
- The most basic defense is simply that the prosecutor has failed to meet their burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
- The defendant was acting in self-defense, either of themselves or someone else.
- In cases where the evidence is aligned against our client, there can be other defense strategies aimed at lesser charges. A defendant lacked mental capacity to understand the gravity of the crime. Or, perhaps, a homicidal act was planned (a crime in of itself) but not carried out.
We discuss all available defense strategies with our clients in light of the specifics in each case.
Types of Homicide Charges in California
The following are examples of charges a District Attorney may choose to bring:
- Attempted Murder: As the name suggests, the defendant is alleged to have tried, but failed to kill their target.
- Conspiracy to Murder: This is when at least two people are involved in a plan to commit a murder, and at least one of them takes a direct step toward fulfilling that plan. Conspiracy charges, like attempted murder charges, can be brought simply by taking the first step, even if no actual death occurred.
- First Degree Murder: The most severe charge, this presumes that not only the defendant kill the victim, but they did so with time to fully plan and consider what they were doing—or, to use legal terminology, they acted with both malice and forethought.
- Second Degree Murder: 2nd degree charges still require malice and forethought. A second-degree charge may be brought in cases where the murderous act itself is less egregious than a cold-blooded 1st-degree charge. In cases where the evidence is against the defendant, a Los Angeles homicide lawyer might negotiate down from 1st degree to 2nd degree charges in a plea agreement. At Saffari Law Group, we avoid plea deals as often as possible—we prefer to defend our client at trial. But sometimes a plea is the best option. We’ll give thoughtful advice, based on our experience, depending on the details of each specific case.
- Murder with Special Circumstances: The special circumstances can involve killing for a specific financial benefit (e.g., a life insurance death benefit or inheritance), or killing while trying to escape law enforcement. A defendant’s prior record can also be a special circumstance. Special circumstance charges are severe, and conviction means either life imprisonment without parole, or the death penalty.
- Manslaughter: There are several classifications of manslaughter charges, which means that the defendant did not set out to kill anyone, but that the death resulted because of criminal negligence or recklessness. This includes involuntary manslaughter. Vehicular manslaughter, including involuntary, is its own separate category with its own procedure and sentencing guidelines. Deaths that came from driving while intoxicated are a prime example of a vehicular manslaughter case.
The Legal Fighter You’re Counting On
Defendants in homicide cases are in the fight of their lives, and they need to know they have legal counsel that understands the law, understands the system, and knows how to fight and win hard cases. At Saffari Law Group, that’s the kind of vigorous legal counsel they get.
Call today at (310) 341-7970 or contact us online. We serve defendants throughout the state of California.
“Ninaz is highly professional, organized, and talented.” - Robert
“I was referred to Attorney Saffari as a fighter in the courtroom. I walked out of court a free man due to this attorney's hard work and know-how.” - Kevin F.
“She not only makes you feel comfortable but she is very competent and experienced in pretty much any kind of situation/scenario. I feel very lucky to know her.” - Addy