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Los Angeles Murder Defense Lawyers
If you or a family member is charged with murder, it is vital to obtain tough and aggressive defense. The penalty for murder in California can be life imprisonment or death. This is no time to hire a novice attorney. It is urged that you contact an experienced lawyer for your effective defense. At Takakjian & Sitkoff, we bring years of experience in defending clients charged with murder.
Murder Defined: Explanation of California Homicide Laws
The state of California does not take criminal act of killing another person lightly. Murder is defined under California Penal Code §187 as the "unlawful killing" of another person, including a fetus. This differs from other criminal homicides, such as manslaughter, in the murder always incorporates the element of malicious forethought. This is the defining factor that separates murder from other criminal charges. Murder cannot be an accident and it cannot be something that was committed in a jealous rage. It has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that it was planned, calculated and carried out with clear intentions.
California law makes it clear that the element of malice must be clear – no matter whether it was expressed or implied. Expressed malice would be exactly what it sounds like, malice that is shown through deliberate actions of verbally. When malice is implied, it becomes a little trickier and enters into a grey zone. Implied malice can be inferred when the circumstances offer up no other explanation for the homicide; for example, if there is a murder with no obvious accident and where no provocation appears to have occurred, the prosecution could argue that the malice was implied by the lack of other suggesting elements.
Penalties for First Degree Murder
- Imprisonment in state prison without possibility of parole
- Imprisonment in state prison for 25 years to life
- Punishable by death
Second degree murder is a little trickier. For example, should the victim have been a peace officer, the defendant will face penalties that include imprisonment for a life term. Should the act have been committed through the use of a firearm while in a motor vehicle (commonly referred to as a drive by), it will punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for 20 years to life.
Defenses for Murder: Self-Defense Argument
In the United States, all citizens have what is known as the right to self-defense. This allows for citizens who find that their life is at stake to engage in violent behavior, including the use of deadly force, to protect both themselves, their property and their family. For example, should a person be assaulted, they have the legal right to use deadly force to get their assailant to stop. This cannot be considered an unlawful action and cannot be considered criminal if it was done with the intention to protect one's self.
There are, however, limitations to the right to self defense. For instance, a subject can only use deadly force if it is clear that the other person is a threat, has the intention to cause damage and the ability to carry out on that threat. In another example, if someone witnesses a petty theft, that person may not have the right to show deadly force because the thief was not clearly showing a physical threat to the subject. However, if that same person is sleeping at home at night and someone breaks in through the window to steal jewelry, they may have the legal right to use deadly force to protect their property.
There is a very gray away in regards to the right to self defense and it is for this reason that you should not hesitate to get the involvement of an attorney if you have been charged with murder. You have the right to defend yourself and if you are facing a wrongful accusation because of a homicide committed during self-defense, then there are legal steps that can be taken to protect your rights. To learn more about how we can help explore this option of defense, please contact our firm.
Aggressive Murder Lawyer in Los Angeles, CA
We are relentless in our defense of murder charges. We thoroughly investigate the incident and interview witnesses. We mount strong defenses based on self-defense, lack of criminal intent, mistaken identity and alibis as the case allows. Where police have violated our client's constitutional rights with illegal searches or confessions obtained under duress, we vigorously move to suppress the evidence. It is critical that you have a skilled attorney from the moment of your arrest, or if you discover you are under suspicion of having committed murder. We will protect you and your rights and aggressively defend you in court; you can be confident that we will go the distance as we fight to help you protect your future and your freedom.