Orange County Murder Defense Lawyer
Penalty for Murdering Someone in California
Under California Penal Code § 187, murder is defined as the unlawful killing of another. The defendant must have acted with malice aforethought, which refers to their state of mind at the time of the offense.
Malice aforethought can be express or implied. Express malice is when a person intended to kill someone else. Implied malice is when a person engages in an act that they know could result in another's death, but they deliberately carry out the act regardless of this knowledge.
In Orange County, CA, a person may be charged with several different types of murder. The offense they are accused of committing depends on the underlying conduct involved in the crime.
California's homicide laws define the following types of murder:
First-degree murder: A person may be charged with
first-degree murder in Orange County if they unlawfully kill someone else through the following means:
- Destructive device or explosive: They used a destructive device or explosive to take another's life.
- Weapon of mass destruction: They used a weapon of mass destruction to kill another.
- Penetrating ammunition: They used ammunition designed to penetrate metal or armor.
- Poison: They applied a poisonous substance to another's body or caused it to be introduced into the body.
- Lying in wait: They waited for the opportunity to kill another person.
- Torture: They inflicted extreme pain upon a person while that individual was alive.
- Premeditation: They deliberately and willfully took another's life after planning to commit such an act.
- In conjunction with another offense: They killed another while committing or attempting to commit a separate crime such as arson, rape, robbery, burglary, mayhem, or kidnapping.
- Second-degree murder: A person may be accused or convicted of second-degree murder if they took someone's life in any way that does not meet the definition of first-degree murder. In Orange County, second-degree murder is usually charged when death results from an accident that the defendant could have prevented.
Felony murder: A person may be charged with felony murder if the death of another resulted
during the commission or attempted commission of a felony offense. For
the individual to be liable for murder, they must have:
- Been the actual killer;
- Not have been the actual killer but intended to kill and helped the actual killer commit first-degree murder; or
- Played a major role in the felony offense and showed a "reckless indifference to human life."
Capital murder: Capital murder refers to a homicide offense punishable by death or life
imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Under California Penal
Code § 190.2, such punishments may be levied under the following
- Intentional murder for financial gain;
- Defendant accused of more than one first- or second-degree murder offense in the same proceeding;
- Defendant hid a destructive device in an area they knew could cause death to one or more others;
- Defendant committed murder to avoid arrest or escape custody;
- Defendant mailed or delivered a destructive device, bomb, or explosive knowing their actions could cause the death of one or more others;
- Defendant killed a peace officer, federal agent, firefighter, witness to a crime, prosecutor or assistant prosecutor, juror, or elected official;
- Murder was "especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel, manifesting exceptional depravity";
- Defendant committed the offense by lying in wait;
- Murder was a hate crime;
- Defendant committed or was an accomplice to a specified felony;
- Defendant killed another by means of torture;
- Defendant poisoned another;
- Defendant committed the murder by discharging a gun from a vehicle; or
- Defendant was a member of a criminal street gang
Penalty for Murdering Someone in California
The penalties a court can impose upon a conviction for murder depend on the facts of the case.
First degree murder (felony murder) in California penalties include:
- Life imprisonment without parole, or
- 25 years to life imprisonment
2nd degree murder California penalties include:
- 15 years to life imprisonment;
- 25 years to life imprisonment (victim a peace officer);
- Life imprisonment without parole (victim a peace officer and defendant intended to kill them, cause great bodily injury, used a dangerous or deadly weapon, or used a firearm); or
- 20 years to life imprisonment (defendant shot a firearm from a vehicle intending to cause great bodily injury but caused death)
- Death or
- Life imprisonment without parole
Contact an Orange County Murder Defense Lawyer
Facing charges for allegedly murdering someone in Orange County is a terrifying experience, regardless of the circumstances surrounding your case. Although some of those charged are guilty, many are not. Either way, you deserve top-notch legal defense during your time of need. You can count on our experienced Orange County murder defense lawyer to provide you and yours with quality representation. At the Law Offices of Randy Collins, we put in the time, effort, and resources needed to seek favorable outcomes, such as not guilty verdicts, for defendants on trial for murder.
Attorney Randy Collins has the experience and knowledge to inspire confidence in our clients. We have a track record of results in Orange County and throughout California. Our team has exceptional negotiation and litigation skills and in-depth knowledge of California’s murder laws. We will be your voice in and out of court, working diligently toward an optimal result on your behalf.
Over 45 years of Collective Experience
Thousands of Cases Successfully Handled
Former Deputy District Attorney
Impressive Track Record of Results
Highly Respected by Peers and Clients
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Our hard work and dedication have created a reputation that precedes us, and you will need every advantage available when your freedom is on the line.
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