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Charles Magill

Fresno Defense Attorneys | Fresno Criminal Defense | Central Valley Criminal Defense Law Firm

Murder

Fresno Murder Lawyer

Few crimes are more serious or come with harsher penalties than murder. In fact, these crimes are so serious, that a defendant could be looking at life in prison or even death unless his Fresno criminal defense attorney is able to aggressively defend him.

According to the California Penal Code, murder is the unlawful killing of a human being or fetus with malice aforethought. Depending on the circumstances, you may be charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter.

  • First-degree murder normally involves a premeditated murder.  However, charges of first degree murder can also be brought in other situations, including a situation where a person is killed during the commission of a felony, even if the death was unintended.
  • Second-degree murder typically involves “heat of passion” homicides where the defendant did not plan the killing in advance.
  • Voluntary manslaughter also involves killings in which there was no premeditation or planning. These cases may also occur out of passion. The difference between second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter is often a matter of degree.
  • Involuntary manslaughter involves murder by accident or by criminal negligence. For instance, a fatal car accident caused by criminally reckless driving could result in charges of involuntary manslaughter.

Typically, a Fresno murder defense attorney will include one of the following defenses to a murder charge:

  • Self-defense: The charges may be dropped if you, or others, were in danger of being killed or being seriously injured.
  • Accident: This can be a defense to homicide charges if there was no intent to cause harm, and the actions did not rise to the level of criminal negligence
  • Insanity:  A Fresno criminal defense lawyer has to prove that the defendant had a mental condition such that he did not understand the nature of the act or did not have the capacity to distinguish right from wrong.

Besides these defenses, your lawyer may also discover improper police procedures at the time of the arrest or questioning in order to get your charges dismissed or reduced. Police are required to follow well-established protocols to protect the Constitutional rights of all citizens.  Any violation of these procedures can lead to exclusion of improperly obtained evidence and possibly dismissal of the charges.