Being charged with a homicide is often an emotional and confusing experience for everyone involved. The term “homicide” encompasses multiple crimes, and the best way to navigate this complicated charge is to have an experienced criminal homicide defense attorney on your side. At Russell J. Clanton and Associates we have multiple attorneys that have successfully defended clients charged with homicide and can counsel you on the most effective legal strategy for your case.

Types of Homicide

People often use the terms “homicide” and “murder” interchangeably; however, legally the two terms are very different. Homicide in general is defined as the killing of one human being by another, either lawfully or unlawfully. The California Penal Code defines the different types of homicides that can be committed.

  • First degree murder: Committing the murder with a destructive device, weapon of mass destruction, ammunition designed to penetrate armor or poison, or by lying in wait or inflicting torture; killing in a way that is willful, deliberate, and premeditated; killing under special circumstances such as the felony-murder rule;
  • Second degree murder: All other killings done with malice that are willful but not deliberate and premeditated;
  • Voluntary manslaughter: Killing in the heat of passion or during a sudden quarrel without malice;
  • Involuntary manslaughter: Killing another person without malice or an intent to kill but with a conscious disregard for human life during either an unlawful act or a lawful act that involves a high risk of death where you fail to take proper caution;
  • Vehicular manslaughter: Killing another person when the driver drives in an unlawful way, drives during the commission of a lawful act that might produce death in an unlawful manner, or knowingly causes the accident for financial gain;
  • Excusable homicide: Killing another person without intent while engaged in legal behavior and with proper caution; and
  • Justifiable homicide: Killing another person intentionally but with good reason such as self-defense, defense of others, or protecting your home.

The punishments for the different types of homicide are as wide ranging as the types of crimes. If convicted for first degree murder you will face a minimum of 25 years to life in prison, and under special circumstances you could face the death penalty. However, if the court finds that you committed an excusable or justifiable homicide you are not guilty of any crime. An experienced criminal homicide defense attorney knows the rights, protections, and defenses that can help make the difference in homicide cases.

Homicide Defense Attorneys Can Help

A good defense against a homicide charge starts before you get to the courtroom. If you or a loved one has been charged with a homicide or is under investigation in the Humboldt, Del Norte, or Trinity County areas it is imperative that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney at once. With over 30 years of combined experience the attorneys at Russell J. Clanton and Associates will provide you with the personalized and vigorous defense that you need. Contact the office at 707.825.6587 to schedule a free and confidential consultation of your case.