Fierce Stanislaus County Criminal Defense Attorney Aggressively Defending Clients Charged with Murder and Manslaughter Offenses

Without question, homicide is the most serious criminal offense. Not only can the punishment for a murder conviction result in a life sentence, but police and prosecutors devote unimaginable resources to investigating and prosecuting these violent crimes. The result is that, unless you have an experienced Stanislaus County criminal defense attorney by your side from the very moment you learn of the charges, you run the risk of being outmatched in the courtroom. At the Law Office of Rebecka A. Monez, we have worked hard to develop a reputation for aggressively defending the rights of people facing murder and manslaughter offenses. With the Law Office of Rebecka A. Monez in your corner, your future, your freedom, and your life are in good hands.

California Homicide Offenses

Generally speaking, there are two types of homicide offenses in California: manslaughter and murder. The difference between the two is that murder involves the unlawful killing of a person with malice, whereas manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human without malice. Malice refers to a person’s mental state at the time the crime was committed. There are several types of manslaughter crimes, described in more detail below.

Voluntary Manslaughter

Under California Penal Code § 192, prosecutors bring voluntary manslaughter charges when someone is alleged to have killed another person in the heat of passion or during a “sudden quarrel.” Voluntary manslaughter is punishable by up to 11 years in prison.

Involuntary Manslaughter

Involuntary manslaughter involves a killing that occurred as a result of a lawful act that was carried out in an unlawful manner or without “due caution or circumspection.” Involuntary manslaughter also includes a death resulting from an unlawful act that was not a felony. However, involuntary manslaughter is not charged if the person who caused another’s death was driving a vehicle. A conviction for involuntary manslaughter carries a maximum punishment of up to four years in prison.

Vehicular Manslaughter

The crime of vehicular manslaughter refers to a driver’s grossly negligent actions that cause the death of another person. For example, a DUI accident resulting in the death of a pedestrian could be be charged as vehicular manslaughter. However, in Stanislaus County, prosecutors have been charging drivers with murder by trying to establish “implied malice” under the 1981 case, People v. Watson. So, while vehicular manslaughter is punishable by up to ten years in state prison, you could also end up being charged with murder following a fatal DUI accident.

Types of Murder in California

Like manslaughter, California also has three different types of murder offenses.

Murder in the First Degree

First-degree murder is the willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of another person. First-degree carries a maximum punishment of 25 years to life in prison.

Capital Murder

Capital murder is a first-degree murder with the presence of one or more “special circumstances.” For example, killing another person for financial gain, killing a witness to prevent them from testifying, or committing a gang-related murder are all special circumstance murders. A capital murder conviction will result in either life in prison or the death penalty. While California is not currently carrying out executions, judges are still sentencing people to death.

Murder in the Second Degree

Second-degree murder is the willful killing of another person that was not deliberate or premeditated. Second-degree murder is also frequently charged under the felony murder rule, which allows prosecutors to charge anyone who was participating in a felony resulting in another person’s death with murder. Second-degree murder is punishable by 15 years to life in prison.

In any murder or manslaughter case, the prosecution may also pursue sentencing enhancements which can dramatically increase your exposure. The most common sentencing enhancements involve the use of a firearm or that the crime was committed in relation to a criminal street gang.


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Are You Facing Homicide Charges in Stanislaus County?

If you were recently arrested and charged with murder, manslaughter or any other violent crime, it is essential that you protect your interests. Before you talk to detectives, before you use the jail phone to call your family, before you talk to your cellmate about your case, your first call needs to be to a Modesto criminal defense lawyer. Attorney Rebecka A. Monez is an experienced advocate for those facing the most serious crimes. She takes an aggressive, all-hands-on-deck approach to every case she handles, ensuring that every one of her clients receives the representation they need, deserve, and are entitled to.  To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 209.554.6446 You can also connect with us through our online contact form.

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Cases We Handle

The Law Office of Rebecka A. Monez handles a wide range of criminal cases in state and federal court on behalf of clients from all walks of life. Some of the cases we handle most often include:

Domestic Violence Charges

Drug Offenses

DUI Offenses


Federal Crimes

Fraud Crimes

Gun and Weapons Charges



Sex Crimes

Violations of Probation

Violent Crimes

Newest Achievement

2024 Litigator of the Year

The American Institute of Trial Lawyers is an invitation-only professional organization composed of premier trial attorneys from each state. These attorneys exemplify the very best qualities and qualifications of an attorney. Each attorney must meet stringent qualifications as a civil or criminal trial attorney.

An attorney who is selected as a Litigator of the Year possesses the knowledge, skill, experience, and success of a seasoned litigator. Very few attorneys from each region will receive such recognition. In fact, less than .03% of attorneys will even be nominated. This recognition is given out yearly.

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