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Murder is one of the common criminal offenses that receive serious public attention and where the defendants face a lot of scrutinies even before they are proven guilty. According to the California Penal Code 187 PC, murder is defined as ''the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.'' As one of the most severe offenses across the globe, violent crimes or murder charges result to lengthy incarceration in the judicial systems. They may, however, involve matters of consent or self-defense. Once a defendant receives charges for murder or a first-degree offense, it's essential that they contact defense attorneys who may assist them in the process to prove their innocence or help in the reduction of their sentence. 

At Long Beach Criminal Defense Attorneys, we are committed to seeking justice for our clients and at the same time ensuring that you receive a not guilty verdict. We have extensive experience in criminal cases involving violent crimes. We know how scary the criminal justice system can be and this is why you should hire an attorney who cares about you and your case. We know the system thoroughly and are willing to answer all your questions. Our firm works with the best private investigators, DNA experts, forensic analysts, and jury consultant to ensure that justice is served to all our clients. If you or someone you know is arrested on murder charges in Long Beach, you should act fast to avoid long term damage. Contact us at (562) 308-7807 or fill our online form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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Protection against Human Rights

We act as human right lawyers since the defense of our clients entails the protection of their fundamental rights. These rights start at the arrest of the defendant where by one has the right to stay silent until the arrival of the solicitor. Other rights that our firm protects about criminal defendants include: 

  • The right to request the plaintiff and the prosecution to prove the charge beyond reasonable doubt,
  • The right to adequate defense,
  • The right to silence and the presumption of innocence,
  • The right to be treated equally under the law
  • The right to liberty - both in the context of imprisonment after the defendant has been convicted or in the case of detention after the postponement of the trial.
  • Right to live in circumstances where capital punishment is a viable penalty.

At The Law Offices of Long Beach Criminal Attorneys, we work to ensure that we have protected all the rights of our clients.

Graduations of Murder 

Essentially, there are two major divisions of violent crimes which include:

First-degree murder

This entails a killing done intentionally in union with a felony or a deliberate action. In California, a case can be called first-degree murder if:

  • There was torturing of the victim
  • The was the use of a destructive device, weapon, poison, or explosive
  • The defendant was waiting for the victim and ambushed them
  • The victim was moved from one location to the next such as kidnapping

Second-degree murder

Second-degree murder refers to a non-predetermined or unplanned killing. It entails death occurring as a result of an assault where killing was distinctly possible. The case of second-degree murder appears where:

  • There is heat of passion
  • There emerged a sudden quarrel or fight

Capital Murder

This is basically first-degree murder with special circumstances. It is punishable by death penalty or a state prison sentence for life without the possibility of parole. According to California Penal Code 190.2 PC, capital murder in California may include:

  • Murdering a witness, peace officer, judge, juror, firefighter, elected official, or prosecutor
  • Murdering more than one victim
  • Murdering form financial gain
  • Murdering by discharging a firearm from a vehicle
  • Murder based on race, religion, color, nationality or country of origin

Legal defenses to murder charges 

Based on our experience with criminal defense cases, we have identified that the most efficient way of defeating a murder charge is negating the primary elements of murder which include the act and intent. If the defendant proves that they did not commit the act of killing, then the charges are dropped. However, if the accused is unable to demonstrate that they didn’t commit the act, they can significantly reduce their sentence by proving that they did not intend to commit the act.  

Types of homicide defenses  

There are arguments which the defendant with the help of the solicitor, may bring to court as a defense for committing murder. One of the defenses is that of justifiable homicide. Justifiable homicides are defenses which are complete indicating that if they are proven, then the defendant is let free without serving time in prison or any other relevant punishment. Some of the justifiable homicide defenses include:

  • Perfect self-defense- an argument used where the defendant acted to protect their selves. Here, the defendants are to prove that they acted out of honest and in the belief that they had to commit the homicide to protect themselves. In cases of violent crimes, the defendant will have to prove that they did not initiate the violence and that the level of aggression they used was similar to that which they received. It is also believed to be self-defense in the case where the defendant assists in suicide as per the death with dignity law of a state.
  • Imperfect self-defense- this is the scenario where the defendant thinks that self-defense is necessary but a reasonable individual would have thought otherwise. It is similar to the perfect self-defense case although, for this one, there is no reasonable belief requirement.
  • Defense of property- this is the case where the victim intrudes in the defendant's property and threatens the life of the owner. Trespassing is illegal, and therefore the property owner gets the upper hand.
  • Necessity or duress – this is a defense used where the defendant is forced to kill the victim. The defendant will have to prove that he was threatened for instance at gun point.
  • Crime prevention-in a case where defendant kills while preventing crime from occurring: it may be considered as a viable defense. The solicitor for the accused is however to prove the need for intervention in such a scenario.

 Another type of homicide defenses is the inability to intentionally kill whereby the defendant demonstrates that they do not comprehend that they have a duty of not killing. Such an argument does not lead to the charges being dropped, but it assists in the reduction of time served. A successful defense will ensure that the jail time is lessened based on the circumstances of the death. In a case where the defendant is proven to be insane, they are taken to the mental institution instead. Under this type of defense, there are facts that the accused has to show for them to be successful and this includes:

  • Insanity – most of the criminal laws in the country outline arguments under insanity. The solicitor is to prove that the defendant was not of sound mind at the time of the crime.
  • Intoxication- a defense used in reducing the seriousness of the charges. It is where the defendant proves that they were intoxicated and that their judgment was compromised. Voluntary intoxication, however, may not be acceptable in courts.
  • Diminished capacity- also referred to as provocation and it relates to a temporary lack of judgment by the defendant. The attorneys of the defenders will prove that the defendant was under extreme stress which is not voluntary.
  • Unconsciousness: a defendant may negate charges if the solicitor proves that they were unconscious at the time when the crime occurred rendering them unable to commit the act of killing. 

The number three type of homicide defenses is the reasonable mistake which indicates that the defendant did not have the knowledge that killing is illegal.

  • Mistake of fact-where-this is a case where the defendant made a mistake of believing that their life was at risk while it was not. 
  • Entrapment- this is the case where the defendants were encouraged by a law agent or officer to commit murder. The defendant will have to prove that they would not have gone through with the homicide were it not for the law officers encouragement. It is the only exception to the law that states that a mistake of law is not a defense.   

For the case of first-degree murder, the defenses fall into two broad categories which are the admission of committing the crime and the denial the defendant didn't commit the offense. If they admit having killed the victim, the possible defenses will try to proof justification of the offense. Even in an admission that crime was committed, the prosecution is required to prove the elements of first-degree murder which should show that the offense was deliberate and willfully done with premeditation. The defendant may support the argument that he or she committed the crime even though they are not supposed to do so since it is the work of the prosecution to do so.

Criminal defense Strategies 

Based on the facts of murder or violent cases, it is necessary that a defendant selects their solicitor to guide them through the entire prosecution process. Here at Long Beach Criminal Defense Attorneys, we develop criminal defense strategies together with the accused so to make sure that we offer them excellent service and ensure that they receive justice. Our attorneys conduct research and information searching on the prosecution to learn what they wish to do. Each proceeding is unique and it’s, therefore, necessary that each case receives a unique defense strategy. At our firm, however, we encourage our clients to be completely honest with us to improve the chance of developing a great defense strategy that may see the defendant have the charges against them dropped or their jail time significantly reduced.

Once the criminal defendant has given the attorney the necessary information, they collaborate to design a strategy that will yield the best results in courts. Our attorneys are well conversant with legal proceedings, and you can be sure that your murder charges will be handled with efficiency. The solicitor tries to search for witnesses and evaluating their credibility. They'll inspect the type of reputation the defendant has in the community and amongst the police as well as other legal matters that may be of significant impact to the case. We ensure that we are through as far as the evaluation of options is concerned to give our clients an excellent legal case.

Client Coaching

We conduct coaching to our customers to ensure that they have the best content to present to the prosecutor and the jury once on the stand. We often employ mock-interviews to ensure that the defendants are well conversant with the defense strategy to be used. We will try to get the defendant to remember any tiny detail about the crime scenes that may be of assistance in the execution of the defense strategy. By informing the client of the theory that the prosecution is using, our attorneys help the defendants to decide on the important points to say while being questioned. Our attorneys are always honest with the client, and they inform on the possible outcomes of a criminal case.

Having an excellent defense attorney for you or your loved one's murder charges would be of significant influence. At Long Beach Criminal Defense Attorneys, we work efficiently to make sure that justice is served to the criminals whether innocent or guilty of the charges against them. Via team-based approach, our firm advocates for clients with different criminal offenses which we quickly tackle given our collective legal experience. Our attorneys not only understand your concerns but also analyze diligently with the aim of resolves your problems with as minimal damage as possible. Our reputation has been well established, and therefore we are your best shot if you're in need of getting your charges removed or solved.  Call us today at(562) 308-7807 for a free legal consultation with one of our attorneys.