Murder charges in California carry severe and harsh penalties. While the future of capital punishment is in doubt in the State of California, defendants can still be sentenced to death or life without the possibility of parole. No matter what penalty you are facing, being arrested and accused of murder in California is a serious matter.
Homicide and Murder Charges
Homicide is defined as an act that kills another person, either lawfully or unlawfully. The State of California defines murder as the most serious criminal offense associated with homicide. Under California Penal Code Section 187, murder is defined as killing someone (including a fetus) with malice aforethought. Malice can be either express or implied. Express malice is where the defendant intended to kill a victim, and implied malice is where the defendant intended to cause bodily harm or commit another act that endangered a life without provocation.
First-degree murder and felony murder carry the same penalties. Felony murder is any murder that occurs during the commission of another felony offense like rape, carjacking, kidnapping, sodomy, drive-by shooting, burglary, robbery, and others. The penalty for first-degree murder is 25 years to life in prison. Capital murder, which is murder with “special circumstances” is either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Second-degree murder does not require premeditation and deliberation but does require malice and acting intentionally. A second-degree murder is essentially any murder that does not fall under the definition of first-degree murder, capital murder or felony murder. The penalty for second-degree murder is 15 years to life in prison.
What Happens After Being Charged with Murder
Every murder case is different and brings with it a unique set of circumstances and facts. Prosecutors will attempt to obtain all evidence and facts regarding the case to prosecute the case and obtain a conviction. Some different events that occur after someone has been charged with murder are as follows:
- Pre-trial hearings that establish the ground rules and trajectory of your case
- Investigations and discovery of evidence
- Preliminary hearings, negotiations, and motions between both sides.
Each one of these steps involves complex law and having an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side can help you understand the process and ensure the legal protection of your rights.
Do Not Face Murder Charges Without an Experienced Defense Lawyer
If you are facing any of these offenses, you are likely terrified. You need the help of a strong criminal defense attorney. Our attorneys have experience and will ensure that your rights are protected.
Criminal proceedings are strict and demanding. The prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that challenging any evidence that may not be admissible in court, or evidence that was obtained in violation of our rights, must be challenged.
You need to contact a highly experienced criminal defense lawyer in California. At the Law Office of Stein and Marcus, we have a team of skilled and knowledgeable attorneys who have both served as criminal prosecutors and have decades of experience representing defendants against murder charges. Contact us at (562) 512-7030 for more information so we can help you understand your rights.
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