Los Angeles Murder Attorneys
Being accused of murder is one of the most serious charges a person can possibly face. Even before law enforcement questions you, it’s important to remember that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
Retaining an experience murder defense attorney is the first step in securing your rights. If you decide to take part in police interviews without the help of an attorney, even the slightest of details might be used to help strengthen the case being built against you. In a murder investigation, the police are not on your side; neither are the courts, or the prosecuting attorney. Only your attorney is there to fight for you and make sure you are properly defended.
From the moment you think you might be a suspect, it’s best to consult with an attorney who can help make sense of the situation. If you are currently facing a murder charge, immediately call the Los Angeles violent crime attorneys at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP at (213) 688-0460 to protect your rights and help secure a better case outcome.
In California, murder is generally defined as the “unlawful killing” of a person with “malice aforethought.” There are two primary ways that murder is charged in California, with both being categorized as felonies:
- First-Degree Murder – First-degree murder is when someone is accused of killing another person using an explosive, poison, or certain types of ammunition; by lying in wait or by inflicting torture; in a way that is willful, deliberate, and premeditated; or based on the felony-murder rule. A conviction for first-degree murder has a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
- Second-Degree Murder – In general, second-degree murder covers anything not included in the definition of first-degree murder. This is a murder that is still considered willful but not premeditated. A conviction for second-degree murder carries a sentence of 15 years to life in prison.
There is also a special type of murder charge in California referred to as “capital murder” or “first-degree murder with special circumstances.” These are crimes that are considered especially egregious, and as such they carry a harsher penalty. This type of charge is a first-degree murder charge that is accompanied by the following circumstances: murder for financial gain, murder of a police officer or elected official, or murdering a witness to prevent him or her from testifying in court. Conviction for this type of charge is punishable by the death penalty, also called capital punishment, or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
A murder charge is extremely serious and an effective defense against such a charge requires an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. Although the specific plan for a defense depends on the details and nature of what happened, many defenses seek to prove that what happened does not fit the definition of murder.
For example, if it can be shown that there was no premeditation, such as when a death occurs in an accidental way or in a moment of sudden rage, then it cannot be first-degree murder. It can also be argued that while a defendant did kill another person, it was done as an act of self-defense and so it was not an “unlawful killing,” which is required for a murder conviction. A defense attorney can also work to show that a defendant was never even present at the scene of the incident, or that evidence may have been tainted in some way, thus altering the details of the case.
Do not try to defend yourself against a murder charge, and do not agree to an interview or interrogation with police without an attorney present. If you believe you are a suspect in an investigation and the police wants to interview you, or you have been formally charged with a murder offense, call the attorneys at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP at (213) 688-0460 to discuss the details of your situation and start building the strongest defense possible for your case.
Recent Case Results
- Complete Dismissal of Molestation Charges
Attorney Mark Werksman’s 29 year old client was falsely accused of molesting two neighborhood children and was subsequently charged with felony child molestation, with a significant prison sentence hanging over his head should he be convicted. Instead, at the preliminary hearing Werksman was able to convince the court to grant his client a complete dismissal of any charges.
- Decision Set Aside
Client, a college student in a faulty Title IX case, was awarded $130,000 in attorney fees.
- Probation with No Jail Time for Drug Money Laundering Charge
Wilmington man accused in New York federal court of laundering drug money through the sale of laptop computers. Mark was able to get the case transferred to federal court in Los Angeles, where he convinced the United States Attorney to reduce the charges. His client was sentenced to probation with no jail time on a misdemeanor conviction.