If you are facing murder charges in California, the quick answer is to call a criminal defense lawyer. This is a very serious charge, and you will need experienced legal representation. The more detailed answer is, well, more complex depending on the type of murder charge you are facing and the circumstances of the case.
Types of Murder Charges in California
In Los Angeles, murder is defined under penal code 187. Murder is the act of causing the death of another individual. The death is committed with malice. The individual may be a person or unborn child. Malice, also called malice aforethought, refers to your mental state at the time of the alleged victim’s death. It also describes the intent needed to kill someone. For instance, one type of malice is acting with deliberate disregard of human life. Another type of malice is having an intent to kill.
California has two types of murder charge: first degree and second degree murder. First degree murder is the willful, deliberate and premeditated killing of a person. This means you planned to kill or deliberately killed the alleged victim. You may also be charged with first degree murder if commit a felony like arson or rape causes someone to death.
Second degree murder includes all other types of killings. Second degree murder conviction is punishable by 25 years to life in state prison.
Exercising the Right to Remain Silent
You have the right not to answer police questions when you are accused of murder in Los Angeles. The Fifth Amendment gives you the right to remain silent and not answer questions to aid in their police investigation. If you have been accused of murder, you can politely exercise your right not to answer questions until your Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer is present.
Posting Bail in a Murder Case
You want to get out of jail immediately or you want to get your loved one out of jail immediately by posting bail. Posting bail without having all the information to make the best decision can be harmful in a murder case. You want a criminal defense lawyer to:
- Look over the facts of the case to determine if bail can be lowered or you can be released without bail. In some situations, prosecutors do not have enough evidence in a murder case.
- Tell you whether the murder charges will be dropped at your arraignment hearing. If the charges are dropped, you will be released from jail within two days without bail being posted for you.
- Determine if you should leave jail. There’s a chance the judge will increase bail at the arraignment.
- Lower the bail bondsman charge, typically a 10 percent fee. You may get that reduced to 8 percent with a lawyer.
Proving Your Innocence
You can do a lot of things to help your defense attorney fight your murder charge. Make a list of witnesses who can provide an alibi or testify in your favor. A witness list will help your attorney investigate you murder case.
Write down what you remember about the alleged crime. You want to provide your criminal attorney with accurate information while it is still fresh in your mind. You want to include information about who you were with at the time the crime and where you were when the crime took place.
Avoid talking with family and friends about events surround the crime. Conversations with your friends and family (spouse not included) are not legally protected by law. This means that prosecutors may call your family or friends about what you told them about the alleged murder.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer Immediately
The most important step you can take when accused of murder in California in contact a criminal defense lawyer. Prosecutors know all the legal technicalities of a murder law. They know how to present an unfair plea deal as your best and only option. Hiring a criminal defense lawyer will level the playing field in your murder case. In addition, you criminal defense lawyer will explain your specific murder charge and determine the best defense to prove your case at trial.
Contact Simmrin Law Group immediately and let us be your criminal defense team. We are experienced in assisting clients accused with first and second degree murder. Contact us immediately at (310) 997-4688 to schedule your FREE initial consultation.