State and federal laws penalize criminal homicide above almost every other crime and if you are suspected of committing murder or manslaughter in violation of federal law, you could be charged with a federal crime. A federal criminal charge of murder or manslaughter can result in a possible life sentence and significant fines, among other collateral consequences, and in the most serious cases, you could even face the death penalty. The homicide defense team at Federal Criminal Defense Pro recognizes the devastation that federal murder and homicide charges can bring to defendants and their families and defends these cases with the full force of the law. If you have been accused of unlawful homicide, there is no time to waste. Contact our defense attorneys at Federal Criminal Defense Pro today to discuss your case and learn about the defense options available to you under federal law.
Skilled Murder/Homicide Defense Attorneys
Murder and manslaughter cases tend to be high-profile, emotional cases and federal prosecutors are under a great deal of pressure to make headway in their federal investigation of criminal homicide offenses, in order to bring perpetrators to justice and give the public some peace of mind. Unfortunately, because of this fact, it is not uncommon for innocent individuals to be indicted and convicted for manslaughter or murder by overzealous federal prosecutors desperate to solve a homicide. In order to protect your legal rights and avoid a criminal conviction for murder or manslaughter, you need a defense lawyer who has extensive experience representing clients in federal court. When it comes to defending yourself against federal murder or manslaughter charges, there is no substitute for experience, dedication and years of practice, and that is what former prosecutor Daniel R. Perlman brings to the table.
The stakes are extremely high in any federal criminal case, manslaughter and murder cases in particular, and the last thing you want to do is leave your fate in the hands of an attorney without experience in federal court. Any time you are facing federal charges for a crime like murder, your future, your freedom and your very life are on the line, and without the help of a defense attorney who is fully prepared to face the unique challenges of federal criminal defense, you could end up convicted of a serious federal offense. At Federal Criminal Defense Pro, it is our top priority to get your criminal charges dismissed altogether, or we will attempt to negotiate with the prosecution to secure a reduction in charges or minimize the criminal penalties you could face. With our experienced federal criminal defense team in your corner, you can significantly improve your chances of winning your case and clearing your name.
What is Homicide?
Homicide is a general legal term used to describe any killing of a human being by another human being. Not all homicides are unlawful. For instance, a killing in self-defense or the justifiable killing of a suspect by the police may be considered non-criminal homicides under the law. A criminal homicide, on the other hand, is the unlawful killing of another person. There are different types of unlawful homicides, including murder and manslaughter, and varying degrees of each crime.
What is Murder?
Federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1111) defines the crime of murder as “the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought.” More specifically, “Every murder perpetrated by poison, lying in wait, or any other kind of willful, deliberate, malicious, and premeditated killing; or committed in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate, any arson, escape, murder, kidnapping, treason, espionage, sabotage, aggravated sexual abuse or sexual abuse, child abuse, burglary, or robbery; or perpetrated as part of a pattern or practice of assault or torture against a child or children; or perpetrated from a premeditated design unlawfully and maliciously to effect the death of any human being other than him who is killed,” is charged as first-degree murder, while any other murder is charged as second-degree murder.
What is Manslaughter?
Comparatively, under 18 U.S.C. § 1112, manslaughter is defined as “the unlawful killing of a human being without malice.” There are two types of manslaughter charges that can be filed in federal court: voluntary manslaughter, which is a homicide that occurs “upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion,” and involuntary manslaughter, which is a homicide that occurs “in the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to a felony, or in the commission in an unlawful manner, or without due caution and circumspection, of a lawful act which might produce death.”
Criminal Murder and Manslaughter Charges We Defend
Our seasoned criminal defense attorneys at Federal Criminal Defense Pro have experience defending the following criminal offenses:
- First-degree murder
- Capital murder
- Second-degree murder
- First-degree felony-murder
- Second-degree felony-murder
- Attempted murder
- Conspiracy to commit murder
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Involuntary manslaughter
- Premeditated murder
What Makes Murder or Manslaughter a Federal Crime?
Most murder and manslaughter cases in California are handled by state prosecutors, but in some cases, these crimes are tried in federal court instead. The following are certain specific circumstances in which a criminal homicide can be charged as a federal offense:
- Murder of an Elected/Appointed Federal Official (18 U.S.C. § 351, 1751)
- Murder of a Federal Judge or Law Enforcement Official (18 U.S.C. § 1114)
- A Killing Intended to Influence the Outcome of a Court Case (18 U.S.C. § 1512)
- Killing of an Immediate Family Member of a Law Enforcement Official (18 U.S.C. § 115(b)(3))
- A Killing Committed During a Bank Robbery (18 U.S.C. § 1111)
- Murder Aboard a Ship (18 U.S.C. § 2280)
- Drug-Related Murders (18 U.S.C. § 36, 924(i))
- Murder Related to Rape, Child Molestation and Sexual Exploitation of Children (18 U.S.C. § 2248, 2251)
- Murder for Hire (18 U.S.C. § 1958)
- Murder by Mail (18 U.S.C. § 1716)
Penalties for Federal Murder and Manslaughter Charges
Crimes involving the unlawful killing of another person are condemned as morally objectionable offenses and the federal government reserves its harshest penalties for cases involving murder and manslaughter. For example, second-degree murder is punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison, while first-degree murder is punishable by a life sentence or the death penalty. For a voluntary manslaughter conviction, you could face up to 15 years in prison, or for an involuntary manslaughter conviction, up to eight years in prison. Even the attempt to commit murder or manslaughter can be charged as a federal offense under 18 U.S.C. § 1113, the criminal punishment for which is a prison sentence of up to 20 years or up to seven years, respectively. Conspiracy to commit murder (18 U.S.C. § 1117) is a separate offense, punishable by up to a life sentence in federal prison.
Federal Criminal Homicide Defense
There are many different acts that can result in criminal homicide charges and with the varying degrees of murder and manslaughter set forth by Title 18 of the United States Code, the law can be confusing. The main difference between the crimes of murder and manslaughter is the element of “malice aforethought,” also known as premeditation, which is defined as the intent to kill or cause harm, and it is this element that the prosecution must prove in order to get a murder conviction in federal court. The crime of manslaughter, voluntary or involuntary, on the other hand, lacks the element of malice aforethought. In any criminal homicide case, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty and the burden of proof in a federal murder or manslaughter case is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is an extremely high standard of proof and if the federal prosecutor assigned to your case can’t prove your guilt to the extent that there can be no other reasonable explanation for the evidence, you cannot lawfully be convicted of the crime.
Possible Defense Strategies for Murder/Manslaughter Cases
Murder and manslaughter are two of the most serious federal crimes you can be charged with and even allegations of these offenses can have devastating consequences for your personal and professional life. If you are facing criminal homicide charges in federal court, it may seem like your chances of successfully beating the charges are slim to none, but that is not the case. There is always a defense to federal murder or manslaughter charges if you act quickly to retain a trial-tested criminal defense attorney who can advise you on the best possible defense strategy based on your specific situation. The following are some possible defenses to criminal homicide charges:
- Self-defense or defense of another – You acted in self-defense or in defense of another person because you reasonably believed that you were in imminent danger of being killed, suffering serious bodily injury or being the victim of some other violent or forcible crime.
- Accidental death – You did not intend to harm the other person, you were not acting negligently and you were otherwise engaged in a lawful activity at the time the killing took place.
- Police misconduct or entrapment – The police or a federal agent engaged in illegal or inappropriate actions or an abuse of power or induced you to commit a crime that you would have otherwise been unlikely to commit.
- Illegal search and seizure – The evidence against you was obtained as a result of an illegal search of your property.
- Insufficient evidence – The prosecution lacks enough evidence to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Mistaken identity – You were mistakenly identified as the person who committed an act of murder or homicide.
- False accusation – You were falsely accused by the alleged victim.
Why Hiring a Defense Lawyer is So Important
The federal government has its own system in place for charging and prosecuting manslaughter and murder offenses and these proceedings can be exceptionally strict, demanding and intimidating, especially for defendants without experience in federal court. The federal court process is very different from the state criminal justice process in California and it takes an attorney with special skill and experience to navigate the intricacies of a federal criminal case. Federal criminal offenses are investigated by federal agencies like the FBI and DEA and these cases are prosecuted in federal court by the U.S. Attorney’s office, which has the time, money, power and resources necessary to send you to prison or sentence you to death. At Federal Criminal Defense Pro, we represent defendants facing criminal charges for murder or manslaughter at the state level in California and at the federal level throughout the United States, and we believe we can make a difference in your criminal homicide defense.
When considering whether to hire a defense attorney in your murder or manslaughter case, all you have to do is remember that the prosecution is already hard at work proving its case against you. Our defense lawyers at Federal Criminal Defense Pro are committed to providing the highest-quality legal representation for a wide variety of federal offenses and we represent clients at any stage of their criminal case. Whether you have been charged with murder or manslaughter, you have just discovered that you are the target of a federal investigation, or you are about to face trial or sentencing, our federal crimes attorney can help. Federal Criminal Defense Pro is based in Los Angeles, California and our defense lawyers are available to defend clients accused of any federal crime throughout all 50 states. The best defense strategy for your criminal homicide charge depends a great deal on the unique circumstances of your case, which is why it is always a good idea to retain a criminal defense attorney with experience handling murder and manslaughter cases in federal court.
Consult Our Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Today
Murder and manslaughter are two of the most serious criminal offenses you can face in federal court and the penalties associated with the unlawful killing of another person can change the course of the rest of your life, possibly resulting in a life sentence in federal prison or even the death penalty. If you or someone you love has been charged with the federal crime of murder or manslaughter, or if you have received a target letter indicating that you are a suspect in a criminal homicide investigation, hiring the right defense lawyer to protect your rights and prepare your criminal case may be one of the most important decisions you ever make. Contact Federal Criminal Defense Pro today to discuss your case with our knowledgeable, compassionate and aggressive federal homicide defense attorneys.