San Diego County Murder Defense Attorney
Murder is classified as a type of homicide, which is the unlawful execution of a person. Penal Code 187 of California Law states that murder is killing with “malice aforethought.” This refers to the intent of the accused to kill the victim. Meaning to say, it is the job of the prosecutor to prove that the defendant had shown or implied malice—the intent to kill or commit murder. Implied malice is considered when the accused is proved to act recklessly, without taking regard of the other person’s safety.
In the law, “malice aforethought” is defined as:
- The deliberate intent to kill or cause death or conduct bodily harm towards another person prior to committing the execution.
- An abandoned or malignant state of mind that the murderer does not consider the safety of others.
Call Lee Law Group at (619) 349-1588 to get a free consultation.
Two Types of Murder in California
There are two types of murder in California: first-degree murder and second-degree murder.
First-degree murder involves premeditation, intentional killing of a person, or deliberate planning of the crime. Under California State Laws, first-degree murder is charged when one of the following circumstances are entailed in the event of crime:
- To kill using explosive devices including bombs, firearm shooting (from a motorcycle), weapons of mass destruction, armor-piercing ammunition, poison;
- To torture the victim prior to killing him/her;
- To kill along with felony crimes such as burglary, kidnapping, rape, robbery, and other heinous specified crimes.
After three years and a day of a victim’s survival, California State Laws can assume that the murder was not manslaughter or a criminal act of murder. It will require hard work of the prosecution to prove that it is a first-degree murder case.
Second-degree murder also involves the defendant’s intention to commit murder but without premeditation. It must demonstrate his absolute disregard or indifference to human life. Unlike first-degree murder, the accused in second-degree murder only intends to cause bodily harm or injury, not kill the victim decisively.
The following are several types of murder classified under second-degree or lesser crime:
Intent to Cause Serious Bodily Harm Only
If a murderer intended to cause serious bodily harm to the victim but not to kill, it is classified as second-degree murder. For example, the murderer and the victim got into a physical fight, and the only thing he knew would stop the victim from fighting back was to hit him with all his strength using something present in the scene. He intended to cause harm, knowing the possibility of death but did not do it to necessarily kill him.
Absolute Indifference to Human Life
Another type of second-degree murder would take place if the victim died due to the absolute indifference or disregard of the murderer to human life. Meaning to say, he did not give any regard to the possibility that a certain act would execute the victim. He did not intend to kill the victim or anybody, but he did not take the time to think whether what he was about to do will kill the victim.
Killing With Intent, Without Premeditation
Without premeditation means without planning to take away someone’s life or kill. His intention to kill the victim existed only during the murder, not prior to the murder. Probably, the murderer got caught off guard, and the only way to get away was to kill the victim. He intended it as a way of escape or to save himself from the mess he started, not before the crime.
Indirect Felony Murder
Felony murder does not always involve any type of killing. Robbing is a felony crime that can occur alongside with murder itself. If two people went to rob and one of them ended up shooting the victim, the other (who did not shoot) will still be charged with murder, but under second-degree.
Punishments for Murder in California
If a person is convicted of first-degree murder in California, he will face one of these three sentences:
- 25-year to lifetime imprisonment in state prison;
- Life imprisonment without parole in state prison;
- Capital punishment of death
California State Laws would allow for the most severe and uncompromising sentence if the murder were regarded as “especially atrocious, cruel, heinous, and manifesting exceptional depravity.” Typically, this punishment is given to those who committed murders, including torture.
For second-degree murders, a conviction equates to a 15-year to lifetime imprisonment, but with potential modifications according to the following:
- Whether the convicted has a prior criminal record;
- Whether the killing was committed via drive-by shooting or out of a car;
- Whether the killed victim was a police or law enforcement officer.
Defenses to San Diego County Murder Charges
If you are charged with murder in San Diego County, CA, with the help of a lawyer, you must consider the following defenses to counteract the accusation against you:
Everybody is entitled to a self-defense mechanism. If you are in a violent situation wherein someone attempts to harm or kill you, the law allows you to fight back to save yourself. It involves the sufficient use of force to counteract the violence imposed against you. You can use this to get rid of the murder charges.
Insanity or Lack of Mental Capacity
Insanity or the lack of mental capacity also exempts a person from being convicted of murder. If a family member of your family or relative commits murder out of insanity, the charges being thrown against him can be disregarded by any California court, should the defense lawyer prove that the accused has a lack of mental capacity.
There are still cases in any state wherein wrongful conviction occurs as a result of mistaken identity. This defense can be used across different kinds of crimes. False identification can also be caused by factors like personal bias, confusion of the victim, or assumption. Once your party proves that you are not the criminal they are looking for, the charges will immediately be lifted.
In Defense of Another Person
In the same that a California court considers self-defense as appropriate, so does acting in defense of another person. You may not be directly the person a criminal is trying to harm but another, but if you only act to defend the victim, your charges will be nullified.
Lack of Premeditation
Lack of premeditation or planning before the murder will help you lower your charges to second-degree murder instead of first-degree. Again, it involves the intent to harm or kill but without premeditation.
Get Legal Help From a Murder Defense Attorney
If you are charged with murder in San Diego County, telling everyone you are not a murderer will never be enough to save yourself. Any legal matter involves legal solutions and proceedings. You will need to attend court hearings, get your defense attorney, establish your defense plan, etc. until you prove your innocence to the court. Lee Law Group offers legal services that will help you eliminate the charges put against you. A murder defense attorney will ensure that your innocence will be proved at the end of all the legal proceedings.
Call Lee Law Group at (619) 349-1588 and book a free consultation now!