Murder / Attempt
California Murder Lawyers in Orange County
Definition of Murder
The unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought. Malice can be shown by premeditation, poison or lying in wait. A murder charge can also occur if it occurs during the commission of another felony, like robbery, rape, arson or kidnapping. The degree of seriousness for a murder charge is dependent on the mindset of the person who committed the murder.
Degrees of Murder
California law identifies first degree murder and second degree murder. First degree murder constitutes an aggravated version of manslaughter because the premeditation is planned, with the specific intent to kill. Second degree murder constitutes recklessness or killings through the course of a less serious felony. Sophisticated killings and murders involve clear planning and premeditation beforehand. Individuals convicted of first degree murder may be sentenced to death or incarceration for life. Second degree murder may carry an indeterminate life sentence.
If an individual showcased reckless disregard for the safety of others during an accidental killing, then that individual can be charged with murder.
Potential Defenses to Murder
There are a number of defenses that are used to challenge murder charges. The criminal defense attorneys at Corrigan | Welbourn | Stokke carefully examine each case to determine the existence of any defense.
The alibi defense is a claim that asserts an individual was not actually present at the location of the crime, during the time and place the killing was said to have taken place. The alibi defense requires a detailed and thorough examination of all reports, schedules, time lines and other factors in order to be successful. The time of the crime must be established using forensic analysis and, sometimes, medical autopsy. A cross-check of events by forensic experts and experienced investigators may come into play to identify the circumstances of the murder when determining the possibility of a defendant’s presence at the crime scene when the murder took place. Another element to the alibi defense is witness statements, which are obtained from defendants, victims, employers, co-workers, family members and friends to create a synchronized witness scheme.
Other Potential Defenses
Other murder defenses include “lack of mental capacity”, “insanity”, “unfortunate accident” and “self-defense”. These claims assume a reasonable action for the murder, usually to preserve the individual’s life. However, California law requires that a self-defense killing may not exceed the reasonable scope of force necessary for self-defense to fend off the actual threat of death. Another common factor used in murder defenses is the “lack of intent to kill”. This statement assumes that the defendant raised the issue that death was caused by accident, or by an act of ordinary negligence.
Call Corrigan | Welbourn | Stokke if you have been charged with murder. We will fight to protect your rights and create a defense that works for you.
Corrigan | Welbourn | Stokke is located in Orange County and represents surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Westminster, Santa Ana, and Fullerton. Call Corrigan | Welbourn | Stokke today to schedule a free case evaluation.