Murder Charges

Facing murder charges is not something you can prepare for. Whether you're facing murder in the first degree or murder in the second degree, the consequences of a conviction can significantly alter the path of your life forever. That's why having an experienced criminal defense attorney working for you can be one of the best decisions you'll ever make. As someone with over two decades of experience working within the criminal justice system, I've seen firsthand how a murder conviction can negatively impact a person's life.

If you've been charged with murder, consider reaching out to the Darryl A. Stallworth Law Office. I've had the opportunity to work as both a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney, so I have an intimate understanding of criminal proceedings.

When you work with me, I'll perform a thorough investigation of your case and the circumstances that led to your criminal charges. From there, I can help you outline an aggressive defense strategy using years of knowledge and experience that I've picked up from inside and outside of the courtroom. I'll be at your side through every interaction with law enforcement officers, every court hearing, and throughout the trial. My number one goal will be to do everything I can to help you reach a successful outcome for your case.

Understanding Manslaughter and Murder Charges

In the state of California, there are two recognized types of murder: first-degree and second-degree murder. While it's important to understand the difference between the two, it's also important to recognize that the consequences for first-degree murder are typically much more severe than second-degree murder.

First-Degree Murder

Generally speaking, first-degree murder is reserved for particularly heinous crimes that involve premeditation, deliberate planning, and an intent to kill. Under California law, first-degree murder also includes any killing committed by someone while carrying out or attempting to carry out a felony crime, such as burglary, robbery, rape, kidnapping, and other specified crimes. As for the consequences, a conviction for first-degree murder can result in one of three sentences:

  • Imprisonment in state prison for a term of 25 years to life,
  • Life imprisonment in state prison without the possibility of parole, or
  • Capital punishment, although it's worth noting that the death penalty is currently suspended.

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Second-Degree Murder

Second-degree murder is often viewed as the middle ground between first-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter. Generally speaking, second-degree murder covers any killing that is the result of acts intended to merely cause serious bodily harm — perhaps intentional but without premeditation. In an attempt to simplify things, the state of California defines second-degree murder as all other murders that do not qualify as first-degree murder. As for the consequences, a conviction of second-degree murder can result in the following:

  • Imprisonment in state prison for a term of 15 years to life.
  • The term increases to 20 years to life if the defendant killed the victim while shooting a firearm from a motor vehicle.
  • The term may increase to 25 years to life if the victim of the crime was a peace officer.

Manslaughter Charges

When an individual commits a homicide without malice aforethought, that will typically be classified as voluntary manslaughter. Malice aforethought essentially refers to the defendant's intentions, decisions, and planning related to the homicide. This can often focus on the defendant's state of mind at the time of the homicide, as well as the circumstances that led up to the victim's death. California state laws define three different types of manslaughter:

  • Voluntary Manslaughter - For this charge, a prosecutor must show that the defendant committed homicide during a sudden fight or while in the heat of passion — which means that they lost control of their emotions.
  • Involuntary Manslaughter - Involuntary manslaughter is essentially when the reckless, careless, or otherwise unreasonable actions of an individual result in the killing of someone else.
  • Vehicular Manslaughter - For this charge, a prosecutor simply must prove that an individual's actions while operating a vehicle were reckless, careless, or otherwise unreasonable, resulting in the killing of another individual.

The consequences for manslaughter can vary widely depending on the circumstances of your individual case. With the right criminal defense lawyer working for you, you may be able to minimize the penalties you face.

Protect Your Rights

At the end of the day, murder charges can carry consequences that will forever change your life. You can't afford to risk your future with just any attorney. For over a decade, I've been working to provide the highest level of legal counsel and representation to individuals facing a variety of different murder charges. I can help protect your rights and provide you with an aggressive defense to maximize your chances at a successful outcome. Don't wait. Call my firm today and put my experience to work for you.

Murder Defense Attorney Serving Oakland, California

Few things in life are as scary or as serious as a murder charge. Don’t face this challenge alone. For over two decades, I’ve been working within the criminal justice system. I have the knowledge and courtroom experience you need to help maximize your chances at a positive outcome. Call the Darryl A. Stallworth Law Office today and schedule a case consultation.