When you are accused of homicide, police are quick to intimidate you. You may feel confused and scared, while your family is beyond shocked. Homicide charges are the most serious of all, and your life can change drastically.

However, charges are not convictions. There is a long road between a warrant and a jury verdict. With a capable Folsom homicide lawyer advocating for you, the jury will hear your credible defense, mitigating circumstances, and all the ways the prosecutor’s words can be refuted. At Walsh & Nguyen, we have a laudable track record defending homicide cases. With us on your side, you have dedicated criminal defense attorneys who will do what it takes to help you pursue the best possible outcome.

Homicide Under California Law

Homicide refers to the killing of another person. Specific charges depend on the circumstances and the evidence the police have collected. When it comes to penalties, defendants can face as little as probation to as much as life in prison. Homicide includes:

  • Felony murder
  • First-degree murder
  • Second-degree murder
  • Manslaughter (voluntary, involuntary, and vehicular)

Often, an attorney can negotiate a charge of murder down to manslaughter. With the right defense team, an individual could be found not guilty and reclaim their pre-charge life. For an adept listener, talk to a local homicide attorney in Folsom.

What Are the Different Degrees of Murder?

Prosecutors consider many factors when determining how to charge a defendant for murder. There are a few key differences between first-degree murder, second-degree murder, felony murder, and manslaughter.

First-Degree Murder

First-degree murder under California Penal Code § 187 is an unlawful killing of a person or fetus committed with malice aforethought, which means the murder is deliberate, premeditated, planned, and intended without being justified. For example, an abused spouse might plan to poison a mate, purchase arsenic under the pretense of getting rid of rats, and administer the poison in nightly bedtime tea.

Punishment is between 25 years to life in prison. According to Ca. Pen. Code § 190.2, in limited circumstances (like multiple murder charges, lying in wait for a victim, or in relation to a sex crime), a defendant can be found guilty of capital murder and face execution. However, California Governor Gavin Newsom has enacted a moratorium on the death penalty for now, meaning this charge can instead lead to life in prison without parole.

Second-Degree Murder

Second-degree murder also meets the elements of deliberateness and malice but lacks the key element of premeditation. These crimes are usually sparked by passion in the moment, such as a sudden argument that escalates to a loss of control. Punishment is generally 15 years to life in prison.

Felony Murder

Felony murder occurs when someone dies during another felony taking place, even if the death is an accident. The prosecutor does not need to show premeditation, malice aforethought, or intent. For example, if the defendant is robbing a convenience store and the gun discharges when it is dropped, killing a customer, the prosecutor will probably charge felony murder.


Manslaughter is divided into voluntary, involuntary, and vehicular. Voluntary manslaughter refers to intentionally killing someone without premeditation, including being provoked by a sudden shock, such as stumbling across a spouse in a compromising position with the neighbor. Involuntary manslaughter refers to killing with no premeditation or intent. Vehicular manslaughter is related to negligent driving ending in death; it is often charged in DUI accidents when a fatality occurs.

A trusted Folsom attorney could review the details surrounding a charge or arrest to help someone accused of homicide understand the level of charges they face as well as the potential penalties and defense options.

Call a Folsom Homicide Attorney to Protect Your Freedoms

There are two sides to every story, and you are entitled to an attorney who will present your side fully and fairly.

At Walsh & Nguyen, our law firm limits the cases we take in order to give you dedicated service and a well-thought-out defense. We listen to you intently and build the most credible defense available. Contact a Folsom homicide lawyer today—because there is no time to waste.