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Murder There's No Alternative

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."
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