We hear the terms “murder” and “homicide” used
interchangeably all time, whether it’s on the news, in a TV show,
or even just in conversations with other people. While the two crimes
are related (both involve taking the life of another), there is a distinct
and important difference between the two that makes a tremendous difference
in the consequences you could be facing.
In short, “homicide” is the legal term for taking the life
of another, under any circumstances, including killings that occur in
self-defense. When a police officer takes the life of a suspect in the
midst of a gunfight, or when a homeowner shoots an intruder who is threatening
their life, the authorities record these incidents as “justifiable
homicide.” While there are no penalties should this be proven to
be the case, there is still a legal record of it.
The term “murder” means “criminal homicide.” In
other words, murder occurs when one person takes the life of another in
unjustifiable circumstances. When you are charged with murder, you will
be subject to a criminal trial, and the penalties you face could be extremely severe.
In California, there are three types of murder:
First-degree murder involves pre-meditated intent. Oftentimes these murders involve cruelty
and planning (and are frequently the ones seen on TV shows). California
also charges killings that occur as a result of another crime to be first-degree
murders as well.
Second-degree murders also have intent, but lack pre-meditation. You may not have intended to
kill the other person when first meeting up with them, but killing them
in a catastrophic loss of emotional control fits into this crime.
Third-degree murder is also known as “manslaughter” and occurs when negligence
of an act of harm results in the death of another person. Reckless driving
actions that kill a pedestrian on the side of the road are considered
manslaughter, or third-degree murder charges.
In each of these cases, you could be facing consequences that will have
a significant impact on you for the rest of your life. Retaining the legal
counsel of a Riverside criminal defense attorney with experience handling
violent crimes will give you the best chance of an optimal result. At the
Law Offices of Paul Grech, we have more than 39 years of criminal defense experience, and have gone
to trial more than 100 times to defend our clients against a wide range
of charges, including those facing the death penalty.
Contact the Law Offices of Paul Grech today by calling (951) 291-0105 now and let us
review your case completely free of charge!