Hello, I am Patrick Clancy, Innocence Legal Team Founder and Chief Strategist.
If you are accused of taking a life, prosecutors will come after you with all of their power and resources. The Innocence Legal Team trial attorneys, whom we refer to as Team Leaders, have long experience with handling homicides.
A first-degree murder conviction carries a sentence of 25 to life in prison, or with special circumstances, the death penalty. First-degree murder refers to a premeditated, intentional killing that is planned in advance. This means that the offender had a specific intent to kill and planned the act ahead of time, with malice aforethought.
A second-degree murder conviction carries a sentence range of 15 years to life imprisonment. Second-degree murder refers to an intentional killing that is not premeditated or planned in advance. It still involves the intent to kill, but the offender may not have had the opportunity to plan out the act or may have acted impulsively.
It may also refer to a killing that occurred during the commission of a crime, such as during a robbery or other violent offense. This is known as Felony Murder.
Felony murder can be charged when the commission of an inherently dangerous felony results in an unintentional death. The death is considered a foreseeable consequence of the underlying felony, and the person committing the felony can be held criminally responsible for the death. A felony murder conviction carries the same prison term as second-degree murder, 15 years to life.
Manslaughter refers to an unintentional killing that occurs either due to criminal negligence or as the result of a reckless act. The offender may not have intended to cause harm or death, but their actions were still responsible for the victim’s death.
Manslaughter may also refer to a killing that occurred in the heat of the moment during a fight or argument, for example. The punishment for manslaughter is less severe than for murder, but may still involve a prison sentence or other penalties.
A manslaughter conviction carries a prison term of between 3 and 11 years.
Generally, every criminal offense requires three elements.
First, the defendant must commit one or more acts. Second, the defendant must have acted with a specific state of mind or intent. And third, there must be a causal connection between the act and the offense.
One obvious defense is that you did not do the killing.
However, the most common defense to a murder charge is to attack the intent element. In other words, the accused was unable to form the required intent or state of mind.
In California, voluntary intoxication does not excuse criminal conduct. However, involuntary intoxication, where applicable, maybe a partial defense.
For example, medication taken under prescription might have an unexpected adverse side effect affecting behavior.
An insanity defense is both complicated and risky.
It requires proof that the defendant could not differentiate right from wrong while committing the crime. This is generally done through expert psychological testimony.
Necessity is another common defense to murder.
These defenses include Self Defense and Defense of 3rd Persons. While easy to claim, self-defense requires proving the existence of a credible danger or risk that justifies the force the defendant is accused of using.
An important factor is showing that the accused was not the aggressor. If self-defense is a viable defense in your case, the Innocence Legal Team will find, uncover, and present such evidence in court.
The Innocence Legal Team is dedicated, not only to protecting your freedom. but also your career, reputation and ability to support yourself and your family.