Homicide / Murder
If you are under investigation or have been charged with the death of another person, retaining a skilled and experienced homicide defense lawyer should be your top priority. The combination of legal and media challenges that come with murder cases requires a knowledgeable, well-equipped defense team to protect your rights.
The attorneys at The Law Office of Stein & Markus, based in Bellflower, have more than 75 years of combined experience in California’s legal system. One of the firm’s co-founders, Joseph A. Markus, is a former deputy district attorney who prosecuted more than 70 murder cases during his career. That kind of experience is invaluable to our clients, because it helps us understand the tactics prosecutors use and what we can do to build strong defenses.
We believe in devoting all of our energy and attention to you, our client. When you’ve been accused of homicide, the most serious accusation under the law, you deserve nothing less than a full, vigorous and powerful defense.
Powerful Defense Against All Types of Homicide Charges
California has several “levels” of murder, each varying in the severity of the possible sentence. We are equipped to defend clients charged with any degree of homicide in our state:
- Capital murder/murder with special circumstances: The most serious charge possible, capital murder is essentially first-degree murder coupled with circumstances that make the offense punishable by death or life in prison without parole. Circumstances that lead to capital murder charges include the killing of more than one victim, killing of a witness set to testify against a defendant, killing in a drive-by shooting, murder for financial gain, and several other scenarios.
- First-degree murder: Under California Penal Code 187(a), first-degree murder is defined as 1) deliberate, premeditated killing of another person, 2) lying in wait to torture and kill, or kill someone with poison, explosive weapons, ammunition, or a destructive device, and 3) felony murder.
- Felony murder: This crime is charged when a person dies during the commission of a dangerous felony such as robbery or rape. In late 2018, the laws around felony murder were altered by the signing of a new law, California SB 1437. Read more about the new law and what it means.
- Second-degree murder: Most murders that are not premeditated fall into the second-degree murder category. Common examples include bar fights that get out of hand or crimes committed in the heat of passion.
- “Watson” murder: May be charged when an offender with a prior DUI convictions and kills someone while driving under the influence.
Fighting Manslaughter Charges in California
Manslaughter is often charged in situations where a person died but the death does not fit any of the definitions of homicide. We have extensive experience in all types of manslaughter cases, which include:
- Voluntary manslaughter: Intentional killing but without malice, meaning the accused was provoked and reacted by killing the other person without thinking about it long enough to rise to premeditated murder.
- Involuntary manslaughter: Occurs when someone is killed but the accused had no intention of causing death.
- Vehicular manslaughter: Occurs when a driver drives unlawfully but not to the level of a felony and causes the death of someone else, or knowingly causes an auto accident for financial gain and the accident results in death.
What Our Clients Say
The very best. A great person of honor, integrity, compassion and tenacity!!!!
Mr. Markus!! Words cannot describe how grateful and appreciative we are to you and Andrew for working so hard towards my release! Forgive the delay of this message. These past 2 days have been a whirlwind of emotions and somewhat of a blur, yet it’s been indescribably humbling. I have a DIFFERENT outlook on life than I did 20 years ago. I plan to excel in my life, marriage and in all aspects of my new journey, not cutting corners or risking anything that would jeopardize my 2nd chance at life. Thanks to you I’ve been given the opportunity of a lifetime (literally)! My gratitude towards Stein & Markus is incomprehensible! Thank you once again! We will be posting on Facebook … about your outstanding work! Have a wonderful day! Forever Grateful! God Bless!