Coming up against or standing up to a murder charge is devastating to any person’s life. Not only will you likely face the possibility of incarceration for an extended period of time, but also being marked as a felon except, maybe not. Murder and felony murder are often confused, leading to the concept that if someone dies of any unnatural causes, that means someone must go to jail forever. That couldn’t be further from the truth, and many times police departments and courtrooms get the entire situation wrong. If you’ve been accused of murder, the best thing to do is contact an experienced homicide defense attorney in San Diego.
Situation Requirements for Felony Murder
Felony murder is the professional, or legal term, that broadens the definition of murder rather than limits it. Felony murder specifically speaks on applying the laws relating to murder as they fall in line with other felonies. For example, if someone was committing a mass stabbing and faced felony charges of assault, they would then face felony charges for murder as a result of the felony level assault charge.
Felony murder goes far beyond standard murder charges because they don’t need to prove any intent to kill. In fact, they can rest entirely on intent to harm, negligence, or even carelessness. This section of the law can cause trouble for many people who really shouldn’t face “murder 1” charges such as a burglary in a home invasion gone wrong.
The extreme cases could possibly involve a repeat offender, a repeat drunk driver, or someone who knowingly took actions that were likely to lead to death. If, for example, someone walked into a liqueur store with a loaded gun and pointed it at the clerk, then it accidentally discharged, the result would probably be felony murder. Although there was no premeditation or intent to kill, there was a felony robbery crime and the death of a person.
Is a Fatality in the Car Accident Felony Murder?
This is a very common questions for survivors of a bad crash. As explained above, felony murder rests on a preexisting felony and the loss of life. The court doesn’t need to show intent to kill, and they don’t need to show motive. However, many cases of vehicular homicide aren’t counted as felony murder because there aren’t other felonies present.
Now, if someone were say, street racing, and was well above the speed limit putting many on the road at risk, they may face felonies for endangerment and negligent vehicular manslaughter. Taking those charges to the scale of felony murder is left to the police and the district attorney. Often they aren’t escalated because they still need a conviction from a jury. Very few cases involving vehicular homicide will go to felony murder.
What’s the Difference Between Manslaughter and Felony Murder?
To clear a few things up because of how complex the subject of murder is, homicide is the legal reference to one person killing another. That act could be intentional, or unintentional, through violent means, or unavoidable consequence, it’s never clear what the situation is when simply using the term homicide. That’s why there are more definite terms used such as “vehicular homicide” you know from that wording that someone was killed as a result of a wreck.
Homicide is also not inherently illegal. Odd, isn’t it? Homicide is something that soldiers do in war, homeowners do to protect their family, and victims of assault do to protect their lives.
Murder is an adaption of homicide, which includes both malice and forethought. It’s clear that showing the internal motives of a person to determine the degree of a crime is incredibly difficult. That challenge is where manslaughter comes into play. Especially when the court can argue that the forethought happened moments before the killing, or months prior.
A manslaughter charge sounds worse than murder but actually isn’t. There are various degrees of manslaughter, and many levels of manslaughter aren’t felony crimes. Manslaughter will often include “heat of the moment” crimes or in response to negligence or abuse. Manslaughter charges will rarely if ever, have the opportunity to rise to the level of felony murder.
Choose the Right San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer
Anyone facing a felony murder charge needs not just a lawyer but a good criminal defense lawyer. Go beyond the standard and fight the charges that are against you. With San Diego Criminal, you can have a professional create a structured and compelling case to offset the extent of these charges.
Our attorneys will work not only to showcase your innocence but to tilt the prosecution’s case off-balance as part of your defense plan. Contact a criminal defense law firm based in San Diego to start constructing your defense today. Criminal attorneys are well aware of the battles that lay ahead. There’s no case too tough for us.