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Homicide Legal Defense Firm

Contact Former Deputy District Attorney, Mariya Melkonyan For A Free Consultation Today!

If you are charged with homicide in Los Angeles or nearing counties, you may face severe legal consequences. Once you are charged, you can expect the prosecution to investigate every aspect of the case, including searching your property, interviewing your friends and family, and digging through your employment records and internet searches. This may all occur while you are being held in custody and subject to police interrogation.

With the right homicide legal defense team, you can give yourself the best chance of having your charges reduced or dismissed, or at least lessen your final sentence.

Mariya Melkoyan is an experienced homicide legal defense attorney in Los Angeles with over ten years of experience as a Deputy District Attorney. She has a deep understanding of how homicides are prosecuted and can anticipate how best to defend you during proceedings for your criminal case.

Table of Contents

    Types of Homicide Charges

    Homicide refers to the action of the killing of another person, lawfully or unlawfully. In California, several different homicide charges can be brought against you, depending on the circumstances of the case.

    These charges include first-degree murder, second-degree murder, capital murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, and vehicular manslaughter. Murder is defined by Penal Code 187 PC as “the unlawful killing of a human being or fetus with malice aforethought.”

    First-Degree Murder

    First-degree murder refers to the premeditated, deliberate, and willful killing of another person. A basic example of first-degree murder is a man fired from work, goes out and buys a gun, then shoots and kills his boss.

    In California, first-degree murder can also include situations where the person who commits the murder wears an explosive device, uses poison or a weapon of mass destruction, or uses armor-piercing ammunition in the killing. Additionally, first-degree murder charges can be applied if the victim was tortured before the murder or if the victim was killed under the “felony murder rule,” meaning they were killed while the defendant was committing a non-homicide-related felony.

    First-degree murder carries the possibility of 25 years to life in the state prison. In the case of a murder resulting from a hate crime, this includes life without parole.

    Second-Degree Murder

    Second-degree murder refers to killing another person willfully without premeditation. This means the murder was not planned ahead of time, but it was still based on willful action. An example of this type of murder is if you get into a fight while intoxicated and knock the other person to the ground, causing them to hit their head and die due to the impact. Another example would be shooting a gun into a crowd and killing someone in a spur-of-the-moment decision.

    The “felony murder rule” also applies to second-degree murder. To be charged with second-degree murder, the victim must have died during the commission of a felony that is inherently dangerous, meaning that a reasonable person would expect serious injury or death to result from the felony. Second-degree murder charges also result from murders that don’t meet the criteria of first-degree but are still willful homicides.

    Second-degree murder carries a possible sentence of 15 years to life, with modifications arising based on your criminal record, whether or not a firearm was involved, or if someone in law enforcement was killed. These are serious charges and having a rock-solid homicide legal defense team on your side is key.

    Capital Murder

    Capital murder charges are reserved for a murder committed with special circumstances. Capital murder carries the possibility of the death penalty and life without parole, making it one of the most severe charges. There are about 20 “special circumstances” which allow the prosecution to charge you with capital murder, including:

    • Murder of a public servant (judge, prosecutor, police officer, etc.)
    • Murder of a witness to prevent them from testifying
    • Murder committed in a hate crime
    • Murdering committed for financial gain
    • Murder committed using poison
    • Murdering in a particularly heinous, cruel, or depraved manner

    A capital murder example is a woman who kills her husband by poisoning him so that she can get his life insurance money or a man who kills the prosecuting attorney in his criminal case.

    Attempted Murder

    Under California penal code 664, if the crime attempted is punishable by time in state prison or county jail, then the individual can receive one-half of the imprisonment term applicable for a conviction of that crime. If the attempted crime is punishable by life in prison, the individual may receive five, seven, or nine years in state prison for the attempt.

    However, if the attempted murder is willful, premeditated, and/or deliberate, it is punishable by life in prison with a possibility of parole. Contact our homicide legal defense team if you’ve been charged with attempted murder, and have a solid criminal defense team working on your side.

    Voluntary Manslaughter

    Manslaughter (PC 192) is a less serious form of homicide compared to murder. Voluntary manslaughter refers to a situation where deliberate and willful actions kill a victim, but the act is not premeditated. This is typically called a crime of passion because it often occurs in situations where a defendant emotionally loses control in the moment but did not plan to kill anyone.

    A typical example of voluntary manslaughter is a man who finds his wife in bed with another person, grabs a gun, and shoots them. Another example of voluntary manslaughter might be someone who shoots another person in a fit of road rage.

    Voluntary manslaughter carries a possible sentence of three, six, or eleven years in state prison. Having an experienced homicide legal defense team on your side is extremely vital.

    Involuntary Manslaughter

    Involuntary manslaughter refers to killing another person without intention or malice but still with a conscious disregard for life. In California, this can occur if you perform a non-felony unlawful act or if a defendant is performing a legal action that has a high chance of causing bodily injury or death and acts without caution.

    An example of involuntary manslaughter is a teenager who takes out their parent’s gun to show their friends, and the gun goes off, killing one of the other teenagers present. Another example might be a daycare owner who lawfully runs a daycare but fails to appropriately secure their pool in the backyard, which results in the drowning of a child under their care. In these cases, there is no intention of harm, but disregard and lack of caution caused the death of another.

    Involuntary manslaughter carries a sentence of between two and four years in state prison. Don’t take a chance with an inexperienced defense team, contact our homicide legal defense attorneys today for your free consultation.

    Vehicular Manslaughter

    Vehicular manslaughter is a type of homicide that can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the circumstances. To be charged with vehicular manslaughter, a defendant must be in the act of driving and commit an unlawful (non-felony) maneuver, a lawful act that puts the passengers at risk for death, or knowingly cause an accident for monetary gain.

    The most common example of vehicular manslaughter occurs when a defendant kills someone while operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs but can also refer to instances such as killing a pedestrian due to distracted driving or speeding.

    Vehicular manslaughter carries a maximum of ten years in prison as a felony or a maximum of one year as a misdemeanor. The Law Offices of Mariya Melkonyan are a group of experienced homicide legal defense attorneys who are ready to fight for your rights.

    Homicide Legal Defense Help

    If you are charged with any type of homicide case, your best chance at mitigating your sentence is by seeking legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact our homicide legal defense team as soon as possible.

    Mariya Melkonyan knows her way around the criminal courtroom and has experience representing clients in all types of homicide cases. She uses her 13 years as a Deputy District Attorney to anticipate the prosecution’s case against you and put up an aggressive defense on your behalf.

    Ms. Melkonyan understands the emotional pressure and stress that comes with being charged with homicide and offers compassionate, fair representation so you can navigate the legal process with dignity, knowing that your basic rights as a citizen are protected.

    Protect Your Rights. Contact Mariya Melkonyan

    To better your chances of mitigating your sentence during a homicide investigation and legal process, work with experienced criminal defense attorney Mariya Melkonyan.

    Contact Mariya at (424) 901-3131 or use our online contact form to request a free consultation. She can review your case and advise you on the best legal course of action going forward.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Vehicular manslaughter only applies if the death of a passenger was caused by negligent or risky driving. If you were speeding, drinking, or texting, there is a chance that you may be charged with vehicular manslaughter.

    If you are worried about being accused, speak with our homicide legal defense attorneys about your specific situation.

    If you have not been charged with homicide but are worried you are being investigated, it is a good idea to talk with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

    In the meantime, don’t speak to anyone regarding the incident without an attorney present, and don’t allow police on your property without a warrant.

    If you are facing capital murder charges, there is the possibility that you may receive the death penalty.

    There have only been 13 executions carried out in California since 1976, so even if you receive the death penalty, you may not be executed. Don’t take a chance with any criminal defense firm, contact our homicide legal defense team today for a free consultation.

    Depending on your charges, you could face anywhere from life without parole to a few years in state prison. It is important to work with a skilled criminal defense attorney who can aggressively pursue reducing your charges or mitigating your sentencing.

    Homicide Defense Attorney Mariya Melkonyan

    Homicide is a serious crime and cases where you or a loved one is charged with homicide, can be extremely stressful and overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced homicide legal defense firm for your case. At The Law Offices of Mariya Melkonyan, we always have our client’s best interest at heart. From the moment you contact us for a consultation, we start planning a solid homicide defense strategy.

    Most clients feel ashamed, frustrated, and angry after being charged with a federal crime, but our legal team is here to reiterate that you, as a citizen, have basic rights, one of which is to hire an attorney.

    Before you speak to authorities, remember that you do not have to answer any questions without a lawyer present. Mariya Melkonyan is a former Los Angeles District Attorney who has tirelessly fought countless felonies and has put together many homicide legal defense teams. Let Mariya and her team apply the same skill set and experience in your case.

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