You Do Have Defense Options if You’ve Been Charged with First-Degree Murder
A first-degree murder charge is a life-changing charge. The prosecution and police may make you feel as though there are no legal options available to you but this is not the case. To get advice on your particular case, contact The Mattern Law Firm at 310-342-8254 for a free legal consultation. Otherwise, keep reading to get advice on a variety of defense options that may be available to you.
Defense One: It is a Case of Mistaken Identity
It is not uncommon for a person to simply mistake one person for another. The prosecution may have charged the wrong person altogether – you may not have been involved at all in the killing. We may prove this by showing you had an alibi or by demonstrating that there is simply no evidence that you were at the scene of the crime. This can include challenging evidence that was not legally obtained.
Defense Two: The Prosecution Has Not Proven Their Case
There are specific elements of first-degree murder that the prosecution must prove in order for you to be found guilty of the crime. They must prove that you killed another person, that you had the intent to do so, that it was a deliberate act, and that it was a premeditated act.
If they cannot prove 100% of these elements then they have not proven the case and your attorney can argue so. Note that one potential outcome of the prosecution not proving first-degree murder could involve them lowering the charge to second-degree murder, which could be good or bad for your case, depending.
Defense Three: Showing That the Killing Was Accidental
In almost all cases, an accidental killing will not be considered a murder. It may be that what happened is better explained by voluntary or even involuntary manslaughter. These charges are still suboptimal, but they come with a much lighter sentence than a charge of first-degree murder.
Defense Four: Show it Was a Justified Killing
There are certain situations in which a person is legally justified in killing another person. For example, if a person is acting in reasonable self-defense, then they are not guilty of first-degree murder. Defending others may be another justified killing. Finally, when a person is within their job, such as a police officer, they are protected from certain charges.
Call an Attorney Right Away
A first-degree murder charge is not something you want to face alone. Even if you plan to plead guilty, talk to a criminal defense attorney who can carefully assess your case. We may be able to negotiate a plea deal for you. Call The Mattern Law Firm at 310-342-8254 now to find out what your best defense options are.