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Homicide

Dedicated Attorney Handling Homicide Cases in South San Francisco

Our law office defends the constitutional rights of criminal defendants

If you are suspected of homicide, decline to answer any questions and unequivocally demand to speak to an attorney right away. These are your constitutional rights, and exercising them will not make you look guilty. If police are questioning you, they are already considering your possible guilt. The Law Offices of K.J. Petsas, PC is available to you now to protect your rights during every phase of your homicide investigation and prosecution. We have 40 years of experience in criminal defense in the South San Francisco Bay Area criminal courts and will act as your unyielding advocates.

We protect your rights against a homicide charge

Homicide is the unlawful killing of a human being. The state of mind of the defendant and the circumstances surrounding the killing dictate the specific crime charged. To convict for murder, the prosecutor must prove malice aforethought, which includes intentional and reckless acts. For manslaughter, the factors include heat of passion and reckless and negligent conduct. In order of seriousness, California law recognizes these types of homicide:

  • First-degree murder is homicide that is willful and premeditated and carries the death penalty if the murder involves a special statutory circumstance.
  • Second-degree murder is homicide that involves a depraved heart and disregard for human life.
  • Voluntary manslaughter is referred to as heat of passion or provoked killing or involves accidental killing while engaged in a reckless act.
  • Involuntary manslaughter is accidental killing while engaged in illegal conduct, such as driving while intoxicated.

Our defense attorneys demand that the prosecution show proof of each element of the crime charged. We challenge the constitutionality of your arrest, search and interrogation, and we attack the state’s evidence. If appropriate under the circumstances, our attorneys may pursue a plea deal on lesser charges to reduce a jail sentence.

Our defense firm handles first-degree and second-degree murder charges

California divides murder into first and second degree. Under either charge, prosecutors must prove malice aforethought. But to convict for first-degree murder, they must also show an additional special statutory circumstance, such as:

  • Torture of the victim
  • Lying in wait for the victim
  • Use of a weapon of mass destruction or bomb
  • Use of poison or armor-piercing ammunition
  • Murder for financial gain
  • Victim is a police officer, firefighter or federal agent
  • Victim is a judge, juror, prosecutor or government official
  • Hate crime murder
  • Felony murder
  • Drive-by shooting

First-degree murder conviction carries the death penalty or life in prison. A person convicted of second-degree murder may receive a sentence of 15 years to life.

Get the strong defense you need in a homicide investigation and prosecution

Learn more about your rights in the court of law after being charged with homicide. Call the Law Offices of K.J. Petsas, PC at 650-624-8181 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation immediately. Our South San Francisco-based law firm works in all jurisdictions in the Bay Area.

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Our office
  • South San Francisco Office
    1475 Huntington Avenue
    Suite 205
    South San Francisco, California 94080
    Phone: 650-624-8181
    Fax: 650-737-7964
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