Being charged with homicide can feel overwhelming and terrifying. The penalty for homicide itself is severe. However, California Penal Code Section 197 labels homicide by the other person as justifiable in certain situations. If this can be proven, criminal charges won’t apply.
Our law office explains those circumstances along with ways to ensure your legal rights. If you or someone that you know has been charged with homicide, legal representation is highly recommended. A team of criminal defense lawyers will fight to prove your innocence.
How Is Justifiable Homicide Different?
There are several incidents of misfortune where someone dies and the charge classification may be unclear. Violent crimes like murder, manslaughter, and homicide have been used interchangeably a lot. To clarify what the difference is with justifiable homicide, the below are defined:
Homicide is the act of one person killing another. It can be classified as criminal, excusable, or justified.
The legal definition of justifiable homicide is when another person intentionally kills someone but for a justifiable reason, like self-defense.
Excusable homicide is when a person is killed in an accident while engaged in a legal act. An example of this would be attending shooting practice at a gun range, and someone wanders into the target area and gets killed.
Murder is criminal homicide. It is the act of intently killing someone.
Manslaughter is different from justifiable homicide in the sense that the killing is either voluntary and done “in the heat of passion” or involuntary, where reckless behavior caused someone to die.
Keep reading to delve into the specific forms of homicide used as a defense. Legal representation is available to clarify your charges and discuss your legal rights.
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California Penal Code sections 195, 196, and 197 explain California’s laws on justifiable homicide. As stated above, justified homicide by the other person is when someone:
- Acts out of self-defense
- Is defending their home or property
- Is attempting to make a citizen’s arrest
Public officers such as cops, parole officers, transportation officers etc. can also justifiably commit homicide. The person killed has to be a threat or future threat of violent harm. Penal Code 196 outlines justification when the officer is:
- Chasing a convicted felon who has escaped from custody
- Apprehending someone for a felony and the person is resisting arrest
- Overcoming actual resistance to some legal process
There is no punishment or charge if it is proven that the homicide committed was justified. Our firm prepares strategic defense strategies to win. Consult with a lawyer that has a range of defenses to protect you.
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Common Defenses Used to Prove Justifiable Homicide
It is important to know that not each defense listed will apply to your case. If you are charged with homicide, your attorney may use the following defense statements:
Self-defense is the act of killing someone to prevent harm or an imminent threat. If necessary, deadly force may be the only reasonable action to remain protected. The Judicial Council of California is very particular about when a person has the right to use deadly force as protection.
The State of California’s Castle Doctrine states that a homeowner has the right to use deadly force to protect their property and doesn’t have to retreat or flee. Their rights expire at the end of the property and the force used against an intruder must equate to the harm reasonably feared.
Defense of Others
Similar to self-defense, a person has the right to defend others from imminent harm, threats, or danger by use of deadly force if necessary.
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Justified Homicide Legal Support
We advocate for the accused person and fight hard to protect their future. If you have been charged in violation of California Penal Code Section 197, we have lawyers that are well-versed with justifiable homicide by another person. Attorneys assist with:
- Navigating you through the criminal justice legal system
- Prepare and delivering you legal defense
- Protecting your rights
- Interacting with judges, prosecutors or police
- Jury selection
- Assessing plea bargains
- Managing records
Hiring a criminal defense attorney is a personal decision that can greatly impact the trajectory of your conviction.
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Why You Shouldn’t Talk to the Police if You’re Charged With Homicide
Police are hired to protect and serve. But in the end, they work for the justice system. Cooperating with law enforcement is necessary during the case but should be done in the presence of your attorney to protect your rights. Lawyers advise not to speak to police because:
- Even if your actions were excusable, justified, or innocent, it is not illegal for police to lie during an interrogation. There are only some instances in which it isn’t allowed.
- Deceptive practices may be used, and false confessions are a common cause of wrongful convictions.
- Police are not able to determine anything. They are there just to make arrests and let the legal system do the rest.
Do You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney for Justifiable Homicide?
If the other person died as you were defending yourself or others, contact us for full legal support. Committing homicide, even if justifiable, will require a tough legal fight. Our criminal defense attorneys at the Simmrin Law Group have expert knowledge of California Penal Code Section 197.
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