Santa Barbara Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with murder or attempted murder in California, your freedom and future depend on the skill of the criminal defense attorney you select to represent you.
Santa Barbara criminal defense attorney Steven R. Andrade is a former prosecutor who knows the criminal justice system and uses his insider knowledge to advocate for his clients. Our attorneys have successfully resolved cases for clients charged with murder and attempted murder and kept them from going to prison. Steven's skillful legal representation has earned him recognition as one of the National Trial Lawyers' Top 100 Trial Lawyers.
People are often charged wrongly with murder or attempted murder by overzealous police and prosecutors when the actual facts simply do not support the charge. It takes an aggressive, experienced criminal defense attorney to make sure all the facts are revealed and presented to the court. Our goal is to obtain a not guilty verdict for our client or get the charges dismissed during the pre-trial stage. If you or a loved one has been charged with murder or attempted murder, do not delay in contacting an experienced Santa Barbara criminal defense lawyer to defend your rights and freedom.
Definition of Murder in California
California Penal Code § 187defines murder as the unlawful taking of another's life with malicious forethought. Malice is a state of mind in which there is an expressed or implied intent to take the life of another. Murder necessarily involves malice, under California law. Malice is implied when the circumstances show no considerable provocation.
First-degree murder includes all premeditated killings accomplished by explosives, poison, torture, lying in wait, discharging a firearm from a vehicle at a person outside the vehicle, armor penetrating bullets, weapons of mass destruction, and other deliberate acts.
under California Penal Code § 189, deaths that occur during the commission of violent felonies including robbery, kidnapping, rape, arson, or certain sex crimes are charged as first-degree murder. If you were involved in a serious felony and a death occurred during the commission of the crime, you may be charged with first-degree murder, even if you did not cause the death or did not intend to kill anyone.
A person found guilty of first-degree murder may be sentenced to life in prison without parole or imprisonment in state prison for a term of 25 years to life, depending on circumstances outlined in Penal Code § 190.4. If special circumstances apply, prosecutors may seek the death penalty for a person convicted of first-degree murder.
Challenging Murder Charges
A skilled Santa Barbara criminal defense attorney may mount a number of valid defenses to a charge of murder. Police have strict procedures to go by in obtaining evidence and confessions. As former prosecutors, our attorneys know the procedures that police must follow in California in gathering evidence and charging a defendant. If the police obtained evidence through false pretenses or an illegal search or coerced a confession through threats or other tactics, we may be successful in convincing the court to throw out the evidence and have the murder charge dismissed.
A defense that you were acting in self-defense may be effective if you killed another person while fearing for your life, acting to defend yourself or others from harm. You may be found not guilty of the murder charge. A defense strategy based on the premise that the killing was accidental is a valid response to a murder charge in California if you had no intent to cause harm and were acting within the law when the death occurred. In certain cases, an insanity defense is appropriate if there is medical evidence that the person charged did not recognize the consequences of his or her actions.
It's important to choose an aggressive attorney who knows California criminal law and how to develop the most successful defense strategy. We work with forensic experts to scrutinize the police evidence and identify the inconsistencies and gaps in the prosecution's case. We are committed to mounting an aggressive defense for our clients in the face of murder charges in Santa Barbara County or across Southern California.
Attempted Murder Defined
California Penal Code § 664 defines attempted murder as intending to kill another person and taking a step toward putting the plan into motion.
With an attempted murder charge, the prosecution has to prove that the accused took a direct step toward killing another person with the intention of taking his or her life. That step must extend further than simply making a plan or buying a weapon. That step may be: discharging a firearm at another person, stabbing a person in the chest, hiring a hit man to kill another person, or planting a bomb that fails to explode.
A conviction of first degree attempted murder in California carries a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole, as well as fines and the forfeiture of certain rights. The sentence for conviction of second degree attempted murder ranges from five years to nine years in prison.
Challenging Attempted Murder Charges
An experienced Santa Barbara criminal defense attorney may develop effective defenses to a charge of attempted murder. Eyewitnesses are often mistaken. You may be falsely accused of attempted murder because you bear a physical resemblance to the perpetrator or were wearing clothes or driving a car that matched those of the person who committed the crime.
You may have been acting to defend yourself. If you shoot at another person in self-defense because you are in imminent danger, you may be found not guilty of the charge of attempted murder. If you had no intention of actually killing the victim, you may not be liable for attempted murder. If you simply intended to scare the victim or to injure them, you may not be found guilty of attempted murder.
Santa Barbara Criminal Lawyer for Murder & Attempted Murder Charges
Many defendants undermine their own case by making statements to police rather than exercising their right to remain silent. Do not volunteer information to law enforcement that may be used against you. Do not make any statements to the police without your attorney present to guide you and protect your rights.
If you or a loved one is facing a charge of murder or attempted murder in California, your freedom is at stake. Make the right choice in selecting a knowledgeable Santa Barbara criminal defense attorney who has a track record of success. The legal team at Andrade Law Offices is available 24/7 to serve our clients. If we cannot answer right away, we will return your call within one hour.
Contact Andrade Law Offices at (805) 962.4944 today!