According to the Penal Code section 187 PC, murder is defined as “the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.” This means that any killing of another, whether deliberate or not, that occurred intentionally or that occurred while you were engaged in an action that you knew could result in a death can be legally classified as murder.
Penalties for Murder in California
California law breaks down types of murder in relation to the penalties associated with the crime as follows, with some specific distinctions that depend upon the circumstances surrounding the murder.
California First Degree Murder
First degree murder is a willful, deliberate and premeditated killing with malice aforethought. A defendant can also be charged and convicted of first-degree murder by means of “felony murder”. Felony murder is as any murder or death that happens during the commission of a felony crime, such as rape, kidnapping, carjacking, burglary, drive-by shooting, robbery, sodomy.
Punishment for First-Degree Murder Conviction in California
Punishment for first-degree murder conviction in California carry carries 25 years-to-life in state prison. If the murder was a hate crime, the penalty is life without the possibility of parole.
California Second-Degree Murder
An action that results in the death of another where there was no provocation or intent to kill the victim, or when a killing is the result of circumstances in which someone was killed when the defendant was engaged in an unlawful activity (a death that results from a severe beating, an illegal abortion, during a robbery or other felony, etc.)
Punishment for Second Degree Murder in California
Punishment for second-degree murder in California carries 15 years-to-life in state prison. However, certain circumstances can increase this the sentence known as “aggravating circumstance”. For example, if the victim was a peace officer, punishment for second degree murder carries potential of 25 years to life in prison. If the defendant intended to kill, Intended to inflict great bodily injury on the officer, or killed using a deadly weapon or firearm the punishment carries life without the possibility of parole.
Capital Murder in California
A murder designation that considers over 20 special circumstances that have a death penalty attached to them or a life sentence without possibility of parole. Capital murder penalties usually involve the murder of more than one victim, murder for financial gain, murder of a police officer, fireman, elected official, murder of someone to keep them from testifying, murder in gang related instances, etc.
Punishment for Capital Murder in California
Capital murder is California’s most serious homicide charge. The punishment for capital murder in California include:
- The death penalty. This is a choice of: A lethal dose of gas or intravenous injection of a lethal substance; or
- Life in prison without the possibility of parole
Defenses for Murder in California
Defending a murder charge is complex, requiring not only legal expertise and experience in handling of the case, but the additional resources of investigators, forensic specialists, jury consultants and other types of experts. Defenses that are typically offered in defense of a murder charge include: Self-defense or defense of others, accidental killing, insanity, coerced or false confession, illegal search or seizure, or mistaken identity.
Los Angeles Murder Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one has been charged with Penal Code section 187 murder in California we invite you to contact our office at (213) 401-2777 for a free consultation and case review.
Our office charges reasonable attorneys fees and have excellent results. Our office has handled more than 50 murder cases and have taken more than 10 gang murder cases to trial. 9 of our murder clients received deal on a premeditated gang murder. We have even got a death penalty murder case dismissed.