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Los Angeles Murder Lawyers

Los Angeles, California and everywhere else throughout the United States views murder as one of the most serious criminal offenses. Although there are many different categories of homicide, murder is a crime that is defined per California Penal Code Section 187 PC as the intentional killing of another person.

Due to the sheer gravity of the crime, if you are facing murder charges, it’s important to immediately get into contact with an experienced murder lawyer. This is never a time to go it alone and try to represent yourself in court. Murder is a crime that is viewed as the most serious and is classified as a felony, which means if you’re convicted, you can face extremely serious penalties that can significantly change your life for the remainder of it.

What is Murder?

Murder is a crime that occurs when one person willfully and maliciously kills another person. It cannot apply to a situation where self-defense is involved and the individual legitimately fears for their own safety or life and uses force to protect themselves. A person can be charged and ultimately convicted of the crime if they have no legal excuse or justification to kill another person. In addition, during the crime, the perpetrator shows a completely extreme and often reckless regard for life.

While murder is always classified as a felony, it can be handed down in varying degrees, such as first or second degree murder.

What are the Elements of Murder in California?

As such a complex crime, in order for the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is, in fact, guilty of murder, there must be certain elements in place. If any of or all of those elements are not present, it can be difficult for a conviction to occur. The following elements must be in place to prove that a defendant committed murder:

• The defendant committed an act that caused the death of another person or a fetus
• The defendant behaved with malice
• The defendant killed another person without justification or a legal excuse to do so (such as self-defense)

It’s important to note that malice can be either expressed or implied. If a person deliberately intends to kill another person, they are expressing malice. A person can act with malice if the following are in place:

• The defendant committed an act
• The act the defendant committed had natural consequences that were dangerous to human life
• When the defendant acted, they knew that the act they were committing was dangerous to human life
• The defendant was conscious to disregard the threat to human life and proceeded to act

What are the Degrees of Murder?

The two most common degrees of murder charges are murder in the first degree and second degree murder. If the murder is intentional, the defendant can be charged with murder in the first degree. If the murder was not premeditated, the person can face second degree murder charges.

Individuals who are involved in DUI accidents that result in fatalities can also face murder charges. However, those are known as DUI murder or Watson murder.

What are the Possible Defenses to Murder?

Due to the seriousness of murder charges, anyone who is arrested on such charges must immediately retain a skilled criminal defense lawyer who knows the ins and outs of the law in this area. There are certain defenses that can be used in a murder case depending on the circumstances. The most common include the following:

Self-defense: The defense attorney can argue that the individual used self-defense due to being in fear of imminent danger of bodily harm, a serious crime or being murdered themselves.
Insanity: This defense can be used if the defendant has a serious mental defect.
Accident: The defense can argue that the killing was unintentional and thus, an accident. If this defense is successful, the charges can be reduced, usually to manslaughter.

What are the Penalties for Murder in California?

California views murder as very serious, which means that if a person is convicted of the crime, they can face equally serious penalties. If a defendant is convicted of first degree murder, they can face 25 years to life in prison.

In a case involving special circumstances like multiple victims, murder for financial gain or a drive-by shooting, the defendant can receive the death penalty if convicted.

If someone is convicted of murder in the second degree, they can receive 15 years to life in prison, restitution to the victim’s family and hefty fines.

If you’re arrested on murder charges in Los Angeles, it’s imperative to immediately speak with a lawyer. It’s the best chance you have at getting the charges against you reduced.


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"Spodek Law Group have offered me excellent support and advice thru a very difficult time. I feel I've dealt with someone who truly cares and wants the best outcome for you and yours. I'm extremely grateful for all the help Spodek Law Group has offered me. I can't recommend them..."

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