Murder And Manslaughter

Welcome to the Murder and Manslaughter service page of Shnider Law Firm. Our experienced attorneys understand the serious nature of homicide charges and are committed to providing our clients with the legal representation and support they need.

Murder and Manslaughter Laws:

Murder and manslaughter are two of the most serious crimes in the United States, and they are both prosecuted under federal and state laws. The penalties for a conviction can be severe, ranging from significant prison time to life in prison without the possibility of parole or even the death penalty.

In California, murder is defined as the unlawful killing of a human with malice aforethought, while manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human without malice aforethought. Both crimes carry severe consequences, but the distinction between the two can significantly affect the penalties and legal strategy.

Understanding Murder and Manslaughter Charges:

Murder and manslaughter are serious crimes that involve the unlawful taking of another person’s life. While they share similarities, there are distinct differences between the two:

Murder: Murder charges typically require proof of specific elements, such as the intent to kill, premeditation, and malice aforethought. It is classified into different degrees based on the circumstances, including first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and felony murder.

Manslaughter: Manslaughter charges generally involve the unlawful killing of another person but lack the premeditation or malice required for murder. Manslaughter is further categorized into voluntary manslaughter, which occurs in the heat of passion, and involuntary manslaughter, which results from reckless or negligent behavior.

Potential Penalties:

The penalties for murder and manslaughter convictions vary depending on the degree and circumstances of the offense. In California, they can range from lengthy prison sentences to life imprisonment without parole or the death penalty in certain first-degree murder cases. Federal penalties for murder and manslaughter offenses can include significant prison terms, up to and including life imprisonment or the death penalty.

California and Federal Laws Regarding Murder and Manslaughter Charges

Murder and manslaughter charges are governed by California state and federal law. Understanding these offenses’ legal framework is crucial in building a solid defense strategy. Here is an overview of the relevant laws:

California Law:

California Penal Code Section 187 (Murder): Under California law, murder is defined as the unlawful killing of a human being with malice. The Penal Code further classifies murder into different degrees:

a. First-Degree Murder: This involves premeditated and deliberate killings, killings during the commission of certain felonies (such as robbery or burglary), or killings of certain individuals (such as law enforcement officers).

b. Second-Degree Murder: This refers to intentional killings that lack premeditation or deliberation.

c. Felony Murder: This occurs when a death results from committing a dangerous felony, even if the defendant did not directly cause the death.

California Penal Code Section 192 (Manslaughter): Manslaughter in California is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought. It is further divided into two categories:

a. Voluntary Manslaughter: This involves killings in the heat of passion, typically in response to adequate provocation. The provocation must be sufficient to cause a reasonable person to act out of intense emotions rather than rational thought.

b. Involuntary Manslaughter: This refers to unintentional killings due to reckless or negligent behavior, without malice aforethought.

Federal Law:

Federal Homicide Statutes: In addition to state laws, federal law also addresses certain types of homicides that fall under federal jurisdiction. These include:

a. First-Degree Murder: Under federal law, first-degree murder is defined as intentional killings that are premeditated, deliberate, and occur in specific circumstances, such as murders committed in connection with drug trafficking or terrorism.

b. Second-Degree Murder: This refers to intentional killings that lack premeditation or deliberation but still exhibit malice aforethought.

c. Manslaughter: Federal law recognizes both voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, similar to California law, but with some variations in terminology and application.

Building a Strong Defense Strategy:

When facing charges of murder or manslaughter, it is crucial to have a strong defense strategy to protect your rights and present a compelling case in court. At Shnider Law Firm, our experienced attorneys are well-versed in defending clients against these serious charges.

Here are some common defense strategies we may employ in murder and manslaughter cases:

1. Self-Defense or Defense of Others: If you acted in self-defense or in defense of others, we could build a defense around the argument that your actions were necessary and reasonable, given the circumstances. We will thoroughly investigate the incident, gather evidence supporting your claim, and present a compelling case that justifies your actions as self-defense.

2. Lack of Intent: One of the key elements in murder charges is intent. If the prosecution cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had the specific intent to kill, we can challenge their case by presenting evidence or arguments that cast doubt on their assertions. We may explore alternative explanations for your actions that do not involve premeditation or malice.

3. Accidental or Unintentional Killing: In manslaughter cases, where the absence of intent is a crucial factor, we can develop a defense strategy centered on the argument that the death was accidental or unintentional. We will examine the incident’s circumstances and gather evidence to support the claim that the death resulted from an unfortunate accident or an unforeseen event.

4. Insufficient Evidence: We will meticulously review the prosecution’s evidence, including witness testimonies, forensic reports, and expert opinions, to identify weaknesses or inconsistencies that cast doubt on their case. By challenging the sufficiency and reliability of the evidence, we can weaken the prosecution’s argument and raise a reasonable doubt about your involvement in the crime.

5. Alibi: If you have a credible alibi that places you elsewhere at the time of the incident, we will work to gather corroborating evidence and present it as part of your defense. We can challenge the prosecution’s case and establish reasonable doubt by demonstrating that you could not have been present at the crime scene.

6. Mental State Defenses: In some cases, mental health issues, diminished capacity, or other factors may have influenced your actions. We may explore defenses such as insanity, diminished capacity, or provocation, depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident. These defenses aim to establish that your mental state during the offense affected your ability to form the necessary intent or make rational decisions.

7. Challenging Forensic Evidence: We will enlist the expertise of forensic specialists to evaluate and challenge the validity and reliability of any forensic evidence presented by the prosecution. This may include DNA analysis, ballistics, fingerprints, or crime scene reconstruction. By scrutinizing the scientific methods used and questioning the accuracy of the evidence, we can weaken the prosecution’s case.

Our Approach

Our attorneys deeply understand the complex legal issues and intricate evidence analysis required in homicide cases. We work tirelessly to develop a comprehensive defense strategy tailored to each case’s circumstances.

We recognize that every case is different, and we pride ourselves on being proactive and innovative in our approach to defense. We analyze the evidence against you, including witness testimony, forensic evidence, and police reports. We also work with forensic experts, investigators, and other specialists to ensure we have all the information needed to build the strongest possible case in your defense.

We believe in keeping our clients informed and involved in every step of the process. We’ll explain the legal process, potential consequences, and available options in plain language so that you can make informed decisions. We can answer your questions and support you throughout the legal process.

At Shnider Law Firm, we’re committed to protecting your rights and freedom. Our attorneys have a track record of successfully representing clients in homicide cases, including acquittals, dismissals, and reductions in charges and sentences.

Our Services:

At Shnider Law Firm, our attorneys have years of experience in handling a wide range of homicide cases, including:

Murder: Our attorneys have experience defending against murder charges, which can carry significant penalties, including life in prison or the death penalty.

Manslaughter: Our attorneys are well-versed in defending against manslaughter charges, which can arise from various circumstances, including vehicular manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.

Self-Defense: Our attorneys have experience defending against homicide charges arising from self-defense, including Stand Your Ground laws, Castle Doctrine, and other legal defenses.

Wrongful Death: Our attorneys have experience in handling wrongful death cases, which can arise from a wide range of circumstances, including medical malpractice, car accidents, and workplace accidents.

Why Choose Shnider Law Firm:

Experienced Attorneys: Our attorneys have years of experience in handling homicide cases and are well-versed in both federal and California laws.

Comprehensive Defense Strategy: We take a comprehensive approach to each case we handle, analyzing the evidence and developing a customized defense strategy that considers your case’s unique circumstances.

Proactive and Meticulous: We believe in being proactive and meticulous in our approach to homicide cases. Our attorneys will leave no stone unturned in our investigation and analysis of the evidence against you.

Contact Us:

If you or someone you know has been accused of homicide, it’s crucial to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. We are here to protect your rights and provide you with the necessary legal representation.

Aaron J. Shnider

aaron j. shnider

Facing Intense Criminal Charges? The Shnider Law Firm Is At Your Service.

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frequently asked questions


Choose an attorney who specializes in criminal law. The criminal law is complex as there are changes every day. There are always new laws passing, which are also interpreted differently by the courts. It is a full-time job to keep up with all the latest developments. As a result of the complexity of criminal law, some attorneys specialize in appeals for instances. Legal research and written motions are the only services provided by confident attorneys. Some attorneys specialize in DUIs.

Some lawyers specialize in murder cases only. Exclusively practicing criminal law allows an attorney to keep up to date with the latest developments in the field.

It’s not advisable to hire just any attorney in San Jose, CA, especially when it comes to criminal law. When dealing with legal matters like this, it’s crucial to seek out an attorney who specializes in criminal law. A California criminal law attorney possesses the in-depth expertise and up-to-date knowledge of the latest laws and cases that could impact your situation. Opting for an attorney with expertise in criminal law ensures that you receive the most effective representation and guidance tailored to your specific case.


The California State Bar recommends that you hire a lawyer who has a clean record. Do you want to hire an attorney with a poor track record? For your best interests, it’s imperative to select a law firm that assigns your case to a top-tier attorney in San Jose, CA, with a track record of excellence, devoid of any significant mistakes or lapses in judgment. Prior to retaining legal representation, it’s advisable to inquire about an attorney’s state bar record, ensuring transparency and accountability in their professional conduct.


Engage the services of an experienced lawyer. It can be great to hire a new lawyer. Are you comfortable with that lawyer learning on the job while handling your case? Would you prefer to hire an experienced professional? There is no doubt that practice makes perfect in general, as well as when it comes to criminal defense attorneys. Make sure you hire a lawyer with the experience to handle your case.


Deciding to represent yourself? Speak with an attorney. If the charges are minor and straightforward, you can express yourself. However, you may need to learn what a case holds for you. Keep in mind that your freedom could be at risk, and there is a possibility that you will go to jail. A lawyer can protect your rights and assist you in your case. You may be able to negotiate a better deal with an attorney for even “minor” misdemeanors. However, if charged with a felony, you should never represent yourself. The consequences of felonies are too severe.

Attorney Aaron Shnider To Your Defense

Your Criminal Defense Team

Are you facing felonious assault charges and need a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney? Look no further than Shnider Law Firm. Led by Attorney Shnider, our firm has a proven track record of successfully defending clients facing  criminal charges.

Here are three reasons we stand out:

Experience:  Attorney Shnider has over 13 years of experience in criminal defense and has handled a wide range of cases, such as minor traffic offenses to major felony charges. He deeply understands the criminal justice system and knows how to navigate it to protect your rights and freedom effectively.

Personalized Approach: We understand that every case is unique and every client has different needs. That’s why we take a personalized approach to each case, working closely with our clients to understand their situation and develop a tailored strategy for their specific needs.

Results: Our goal is to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients. We have a proven track record of successfully defending clients and achieving favorable outcomes, including acquittals, reduced charges, and reduced sentences.

Don’t let Murder and Manslaughter Crime control your future. Contact Shnider Law Firm today and let us fight for you.

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Are Your Rights Violated? Defend Yourself With Expert Criminal Defense Attorneys.

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What Client Say About Us

The Shnider law firm CA has helped hundreds of clients over the decade of defending it’s clients from criminal litigations; as such, the case results showcase our commitment and the results of our work. The attorney in San Jose CA has been in the industry for over 13 years, with numerous cases solved and defended for it’s clients. The Shnider Law Firm has led by Attorney Aaron Shnider, a Criminal law attorney California, therefore with immense expertise in criminal litigation defenses. Click here to learn more about us and US legal codes.

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