If someone is convicted of murder, it does not necessarily mean they are going to spend the rest of their life in prison. The penalties depend on the degree of murder. A first-degree murder is 25 to life including any enhancements.
That person would still be eligible for parole after they served at least 85 percent of 25 years assuming that the parole board felt that they were eligible to get out. On a second-degree murder charge, it is 15 to life plus any enhancements.
Depending on how old the convicted person is, they might be able to get out under those circumstances. For manslaughter, it depends on what type of manslaughter and how much time a person gets. For vehicular manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter, the person is definitely going to be able to get out of prison.
Those sentences are usually not that high, depending on the circumstances. If it is a voluntary manslaughter, then the person is looking at a maximum of 11 years, plus any enhancements that apply.
This is a little bit of a complicated question as it kind of depends upon circumstances, what the ultimate conviction is and what the ultimate sentence is.
The bottom line is that a person does not want to be convicted of anything. If a person thinks they are innocent and they did not do anything wrong, they need to hire the best criminal defense attorney they can find, give them all the facts, be honest with them and let them defend them.
If, on the other hand, the person is guilty of something, they still have the same procedure. They should hire the best attorney and let them guide them and help them end up with the best possible resolution based on who they are and what they are all about to be able to get their side of the story across to a jury, a judge or a prosecutor.
Options for Sentencing for Murder Charges Other Than Prison
Just because a person is charged with murder does not mean that they have to go to prison for a long time. They could be innocent and go to prison for no time. Murder charges are just murder charges and that does not mean a person has been convicted of anything; that means they are just charged with murder in Los Angeles.
Obviously, murder is a very serious charge and they are looking at potentially a lot of time in prison. However, depending on the circumstances of the case, maybe it is not a murder case, maybe it is not charged appropriately.
Perhaps, the filing deputy for the district attorney's office in LA County did not have all the details and facts of the case when they filed and the police only did a one-sided investigation. They did not get all the witnesses and they did not get all the evidence related to the defense. They did not get the side of the story of the defendant.
It could be a situation where the person was defending themselves. There are going to be a lot of different things going on and that is why a person has to get the best criminal defense attorney and let them help decide how to strategize a case where they are charged with murder. They'll look at what that person is really facing, what they are up against, what they can do to help and how they can execute a plan in their best interest.
Will My Murder Case Go To Trial In Los Angeles
As far as whether a murder case goes to trial in Los Angeles, ultimately that is up to the person charged with murder. If they do not want to take a deal and they say that they are innocent then the case is going to go to trial. They are going to have to fight and show that they were not involved in the murder.
The prosecutors could re-evaluate their case. They could say they have decided not to charge this person for murder. They could dismiss the charges or make it a lesser charge. In that case, the case would not go to trial.
The prosecutors have the responsibility for proving the person guilty. They have to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. If they cannot do that, then the case needs to be dismissed. A person has a presumption of innocence and is innocent unless they can prove otherwise.
Once they charge a person with a case, if it is not dismissed and they do not work it out by way of a plea bargain then they are going to trial. They better find the best attorney they can. If they are convicted of murder, they could be looking at spending the rest of their life in prison. The person will want to make sure that they pull out all the stops to defend themselves to the best of their ability.
What Does The Prosecution Need To Prove A Murder Charge?
In general, the prosecution in a murder charge in LA County needs to prove that the person killed another human being and did so with what is called malice or forethought, meaning that there was some intent; there was some reason on their part when they did the killing.
If they cannot prove that the person is the one that did the killing then they cannot get them for murder. If they cannot prove that they had the mindset or the men's rea or the malice or forethought that is required for murder, then they cannot get them for murder.
The prosecutors, the judges, and even the jury if you fight the case, are going to look at what they believe is either direct evidence, by way of video, witnesses, or circumstantial evidence, by way of a chain of evidence that shows what the person's intent was, whether or not they killed the person.
There can be all different forms of murder. There can be a murder where somebody plans it, waits for the person and kills them, and that is the first-degree murder. There can be a murder where two people get in an argument, they are angry, they are yelling, they are screaming, and one person snaps and spontaneously kills the other person; that could be a second-degree murder case.
There could be a situation where someone is driving drunk and they kill someone and that would be a second-degree murder case as well. The bottom line is the prosecutor has to prove different things depending on what degree the murder is and depending on what the circumstances are. The person, as a defendant, can certainly put on evidence that shows that they are not guilty of the case.
Why It's Critical To Hire An Experienced Murder Defense Attorney
A person better have a defense attorney who has experience, who has done these cases before, negotiated them and tried them because the prosecutors are going to put their best people on a murder case. They are going to put their best investigators and they are going to put big money towards proving that a person who they think committed a murder is guilty.
They have unlimited money. They can put more than one prosecutor on a case if they want. A person needs to counter that and challenge that with coming with the best possible criminal defense attorney, someone who has been down this role before, who has had success, who knows how to fight these cases, what motions to file, how to investigate them and then how to try them in front of a jury.
Realize that a lot of the judges that are overseeing these cases are former prosecutors. They are not there to help the defendant. A person needs an attorney who can fight and who can argue and who can win and who knows how to put on the best possible defense, get their side of the story across to a jury and who can most effectively advocate their position to do so with fashion, zeal and to get the job done.
A lot of attorneys, in my experience in Los Angeles County, are afraid to try murder cases. They know that someone's life is on the line, that the person could be looking at spending the rest of their life in prison if they are found guilty, and they simply do not have the stomach to defend the case like that.
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