Murder or the taking of a human life illegally with the “malice aforethought” or malicious intent is considered a very serious crime in Los Angeles. Under the California Penal Code 187-199 statute, murder charges carry very serious punishments. If you are charged with murder, it is important to find a defense attorney that has experience, knowledge, and top-notch representation like the law offices of Randy Collins can provide for you.
Murder: First Degree and Second Degree
Murder is the most serious crime a person can be charged of any place in the world and naturally, it carries very heavy punishments. In California, death penalty or capital punishment is suspended so the worst punishment you can have is imprisonment for life without parole. Punishment is often decided depending on the murder degree you are charged of – first degree or second degree. Below are the differences between the two:
- First degree – This is considered the more serious crime between the two because the charge is reserved for very heinous crimes. First degree murder requires premeditation and the intent to kill the person. Meaning, you planned on the details of killing the person and executed the plan with the purpose of killing the person. In California, first degree murder is also charged to people who use poison, bombs and other forms of explosive devices, weapons for mass destruction and guns and armor-piercing ammo. If the killing was done along with a separate felony crime like rape, kidnapping, robbery and/or other felony crimes, then the murder charge can be enhanced to first degree murder. A guilty verdict of first degree murder may result to 25 years of imprisonment or a life sentence without a chance for parole.
- Second Degree – Murder of the second degree is a step higher than voluntary manslaughter and a step lower than first degree murder. In order to differentiate the second degree murder from the other two, the crime must have these 3 elements – 1.) impulsive killing but with malicious intent, 2.) the intent to inflict serious bodily harm that resulted to the victims’ death, and 3.) death that results from the defendants serious disregard of a human life. Punishment for a guilty verdict of second degree murder can range from 15 years imprisonment to a life sentence depending on the circumstances of the case.
Defense of a murder charge can be broken down to two – 1.) deny the charge and point out that the defendant did not do the murder and 2.) accept the culpability of the death and provide a valid reason such as self defense, provocation by the victim or a different person or defense of another person.
Building a good defense for a murder charge starts when the cops charge you with murder. So to be able to a have a good chance of building a defense or mitigating the charge, you must immediately contact a Los Angeles murder attorney. Call the Law Offices of Randy Collins for a free consultation of your case.