What is the Difference Between Murder and Manslaughter?

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(Newswire.net — August 21, 2021) —

Murder and manslaughter are two of the most serious criminal charges that a person could be faced with in the State of California. In criminal cases, including those that involve a murder or manslaughter charge, the prosecuting attorney has the legal burden of proof and is required to demonstrate all elements of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor is able to satisfy that burden of proof, then it will be left up to a judge to determine the criminal penalties and sentence.

In some instances, the accused individual may be eligible to assert a legal defense, such as self-defense, in response to a murder or manslaughter charge. However, if you are ultimately found guilty on one of these charges, potential penalties may include lengthy periods of incarceration, fines, probation, and other serious life consequences.

Given the serious nature of the potential penalties in California murder and manslaughter cases, it is important that you have experienced legal counsel on your side and advocating for you throughout your criminal case. The experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers at The Law Offices of David S. Chesley can explore all of your legal options with you and help you determine if you might be eligible to raise a defense in response to your charge. We can also represent you when negotiating with prosecuting attorneys and can zealously advocate for your legal rights in the courtroom.

Please give us a call today to learn more about how we could assist you with defending against your pending homicide charge.

What Makes up a Murder Charge in California?

Murder is an extremely serious criminal charge in California, and a guilty finding or conviction can result in substantial penalties and other consequences. A person can be charged with first-degree murder in California if he or she commits a premeditated killing – or commits a murder during the course of an inherently dangerous felony. Inherently dangerous felonies in the State of California include rape, carjacking, robbery, and other serious crimes.

The potential penalties upon conviction for first-degree murder are equally serious. For example, a conviction can result in a minimum of 25 years of incarceration. However, if the killing resulted from a destructive device, torture, or lying in wait, the accused individual could be sentenced to capital punishment or life imprisonment without parole.

In cases where an accused individual commits a killing without premeditation or lying in wait, he or she could be charged with and convicted of second-degree murder. A second-degree murder conviction can result in a minimum of 15 years of incarceration, up to a maximum of life imprisonment. If you or someone you love is facing a murder charge, a knowledgeable California criminal defense attorney can explain all of your legal options to you and help you decide on the best course of action for your criminal case.

What is Manslaughter in the State of California?

Manslaughter is a criminal offense that also results in a killing. However, it is a lesser form of homicide than the crime of murder. There are essentially three different types of manslaughter. Voluntary manslaughter is a killing that occurs in the heat of passion. An individual who is convicted on a voluntary manslaughter charge could receive a maximum of 11 years of incarceration. In contrast to voluntary manslaughter, a person could be charged with involuntary manslaughter if an unintended death results from some type of behavior that is extremely risky. In other words, the behavior must evidence an extreme disregard for human life. A person who was convicted on an involuntary manslaughter charge could be sentenced to a maximum of four years of incarceration.

Lastly, a person could be charged with vehicular manslaughter if he or she kills an individual during the course of a motor vehicle collision. In vehicular manslaughter cases, the accused individual might be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the factual circumstances.

There are some instances where a murder charge might be eligible for a reduction down to a manslaughter charge. For example, if the accused person acted without any implied or expressed malice, a murder charge may be subject to a reduction down to voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.

If you are facing a homicide charge in the State of California, the earlier that you have experienced legal counsel on your side, the better off you will likely be. A lawyer will be able to advocate for you in the courtroom or may be able to arrange a favorable plea deal with the prosecuting attorney who is assigned to your case.

Speak with a Knowledgeable Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney about Your Pending Charge Today

The knowledgeable legal team at The Law Offices of David S. Chesley can assist you with every aspect of defending against a California homicide charge. For a free legal consultation and case evaluation with a knowledgeable Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer, please call us at 800-755-5174 or contact us online for more information.


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