Aggressive San Francisco Homicide Defense Lawyer With A Commitment To Justice
Homicide, the most serious and severely punished felony in the state of California, is the unlawful killing of another. California divides homicide into five categories: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, and vehicular manslaughter.
- First-degree murder: The premeditated and intentional killing of another human being. Premeditation can be shown through an organized scheme, deliberate plan or conspiracy. In addition, first-degree murder can be charged when an individual is killed during the commission of another felony such as a robbery-gone-awry.
Defenses: Misidentification, valid alibi, diminished capacity or insanity, lack of mens rea, and self-defense.
Penalties: Either 25 years to life in prison, life sentence without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.
- Second-degree murder: The intentional killing of another without premeditation. Second-degree murder requires malice but not deliberate planning. The prosecutor has discretion to charge a nonpremeditated homicide as second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter.
Defenses: Adequate provocation
Penalties: Up to 15 years in prison.
- Voluntary manslaughter: The unlawful killing of another during the heat of passion. There is no premeditation, only provocation. Provocation can include the death or rape of a loved one, a brawl or adultery.
Defenses: Imperfect self-defense and involuntary intoxication.
Penalties: Up to 11 years in prison.
- Involuntary manslaughter: The unintentional killing of another. Generally, involuntary manslaughter results during the commission of a misdemeanor or due to the individual’s reckless actions.
Defenses: Lack of culpability, mistake or accident.
Penalties: Up to four years in prison.
- Vehicular manslaughter: Reckless or grossly negligent driving that results in death such as driving while intoxicated.
Defenses: Lack of recklessness, lack of gross negligence, lack of intoxication.
Penalties: Up to 10 years in prison.
Uncompromising Homicide Defense In The Bay Area
If you have been charged with murder or manslaughter, you face considerable prison time, lengthy periods of probation or parole, and lasting consequences for your reputation and permanent record. Our defense team consists of experienced criminal defense attorney John M. Runfola, as well as skilled associate attorneys, paralegals, private investigators, and experts who all engage in each case and provide personal attention and care to our clients.
With over three decades of experience, our law firm is equipped with expertise in the courtroom, knowledge of the inner workings of prosecutorial agencies, trusted forensic and investigative resources, and media savvy to aggressively defend our clients from beginning to end. We often help our clients avoid criminal charges by mounting a solid defense strategy and reaching favorable early resolutions. Should charges be filed, we can assist you with building a strong defense theory customized to the unique circumstances of your case.