First and Second Degree Murder

Los Angeles Murder Defense Attorneys

Criminal Defense Law Firm Defending Clients in Orange, Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties in California Charged with Murder

Homicide is a term that encompasses various degrees of taking someone else's life, either lawfully or unlawfully. Some people believe homicide and murder are one and the same, however they are not. At The Justice Firm, we are dedicated to providing a comprehensive, effective defense for individuals accused of murder. Whether your case is under investigation or you have already been charged, our Los Angeles murder defense firm is capable of providing unsurpassed legal guidance and representation.

Murder is a very serious criminal offense, one punished most harshly in California. Whether you are accused of first- or second-degree murder, it is imperative you seek legal counsel at once. Your legal rights and freedom must be protected; without a capable criminal defense lawyer on your side, the chances are high you will face a substantial number of years or even life behind bars.

Los Angeles First- and Second-Degree Murder

Under section 187 of the California Penal code murder is defined as "the unlawful killing of a human being or a fetus with malice aforethought." While homicide may include a lawful killing of another person, murder is always unlawful, and the most serious type of homicide. In a murder case, malice is always an element.

What is malice aforethought? Simply stated, an individual may perform an act in which he/she has no regard whatsoever for human life; the individual commits the act knowing that the probability it will result in death is high.

First-degree murder. Also referred to as felony murder, first-degree murder in killing another person in a way that is unlawful, premeditated, and deliberate. When someone loses his/her life due to another individual committing or attempting to commit burglary, kidnapping, rape, robbery, arson, carjacking, or another serious/violent offense, it is considered felony murder.

Other offenses including the murder of a police officer or child younger than six years of age, or murder for pay, are considered the highest-level homicide offenses, often referred to as first-degree murder with "special circumstances."

Penalties for first-degree murder include 25 years to life in prison. However, if convicted of first-degree murder with special circumstances, you will face life without the possibility of parole, or the death penalty.

Second-degree murder. While an intentional act and malice are elements of second-degree murder, the elements of deliberation and premeditation are not required. An example of this is a situation in which a man and wife become involved in a fight, and one uses a gun or other deadly weapon which results in death. Without a legitimate defense, this would be considered second-degree murder.

Second-degree murder is punishable by 15 years to life in prison.

Contact Our Los Angeles Murder Defense Lawyers Now

At The Justice Firm, we realize the importance of hiring a skilled and aggressive attorney. Murder cases are extremely serious; the challenges may at times seem overwhelming. You must consult with a lawyer with experience in investigations, motions, pre-trial and preliminary hearings, negotiations, and all of the aspects of the criminal justice process.

We invite you to contact us now for a free consultation regarding your case. Your best defense is obtaining the support and guidance of a highly regarded Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, so call (310)914-2444 now.