Homicide Lawyer

About us

Representation in Your Homicide Case

Obviously, a homicide case is very serious. It is critical for you to have an experienced lawyer representing you or your loved one when accused of such a serious crime.

Homicides in California usually fall into five categories:

First degree murder – This is a premeditated or planned murder under Penal Code section 187 and carries a sentence of 25 years to life if convicted. Penal Code section 190 has a long list of special circumstances that if proven mean the defendant could face the death penalty.

Second degree murder – Also under Penal Code section 187, second degree murder is when a murder occurs, but it was not premeditated or planned. This charge carries a sentence of 15 years to life if convicted.

Voluntary Manslaughter – This is when someone is killed, but, without malice and is prosecuted under Penal Code section 192(a) . Usually, these cases involve killings in the heat of passion. They carry a sentence of 3, 6 or 9 years depending on the circumstances.

Involuntary manslaughter – This is when a person is killed because the defendant committed an infraction, misdemeanor or a felony that is not inherently dangerous and is under Penal Code section 192(b). This carries a sentence of 2, 3 or 4 years depending on the circumstances.

Vehicular manslaughter – Obviously, this is when someone is killed in an auto accident. It is a felony under Penal Code section 192(c)(1) when the defendant drove with gross negligence and is a misdemeanor if there was not gross negligence under Penal Code section 192(c)(2).

Fighting the Case at Trial

Any homicide trial is a very serious matter. Only an experienced criminal defense lawyer can properly represent you. There are a huge number of potential issues that may be critical to a successful defense, including:

  • Did you intend to kill someone?
  • Is the ballistics or other forensic evidence reliable?
  • Are eye witnesses lying or mistaken?
  • Was it self-defense or defense of another person?
  • Was the defendant legally insane?

A homicide trial is a step by step process. Your lawyer will need to know how to argue pretrial motions concerning what evidence is going to be allowed, pick the best jury for your case, cross examine the police, experts and lay witnesses effectively, how to lay out your case and how to argue the case to the jury.

At SDD, we ask that the family members meet with us in our conference room to discuss the case in advance of seeing our potential client in jail. SDD's Supervising Attorney Daniel Smith often states, "family support is key to any homicide defense and the jury will sense the concern and the belief that the client is not guilty." He adds, "family and friends of our client are often key to a strong defense and after meeting with them, we will arrange to see the client and communicate and assure that they are backing the client." The SDD's main office is located in a comfortable location across from the Chula Vista court house that allows for plenty of free parking and a staff that understands how emotional homicides cases can be. Call us today to arrange for a family meeting.