Murder – PC 187 | Los Angeles Violent Crime Defense
The charge of homicide, defined as “the act of one person killing another” includes murder, which California Penal Code Section 187 defines as “the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought.” To prevail on a murder conviction, the prosecution must prove intent in addition to proving the defendant committed a homicide. In other words, murder cannot be an accident or be committed in a jealous rage or a moment of passion. If malice aforethought was not present, the offense is not considered murder but may be the lesser crime of manslaughter or even a noncriminal homicide.
Founded by former prosecutors 30 years ago, Takakjian & Sitkoff, LLP has the substantial insight and experience to protect our clients who are charged with the most serious crimes. We match the prosecution’s skills and resources when it comes to investigating the circumstances surrounding the murder, interviewing witnesses, analyzing forensic evidence and building a solid defense.
Types of murder charges
Murder is divided into categories with specific elements unique to each. In California,homicide can be classified as:
- Murder in the first-degree — Aggravating factors that can bump a murder charge to first degree include use of a destructive device, poison, lying in wait and torture or if the killing was otherwise willful, deliberate and premeditated or occurred during commission of a felony. Murder in the first degree is punishable by life in prison or the death penalty.
- Capital murder — Only the most egregious murders are supposed to be classified as capital offenses. A defendant faces the death penalty if special circumstances exist — if, for example, the murder occurred while specified offenses were being committed or involved torture or other especially heinous, atrocious, cruel or depraved acts.
- Felony murder — A murder is first-degree if committed in the course of an enumerated felony such as arson, rape, carjacking, robbery, burglary, mayhem, kidnapping or train wrecking.
- Murder in the second-degree — This charge applies when there are no aggravating factors. Penalties for second-degree murder range from 15 years to life, depending on a variety of circumstances.
Defenses to murder
California recognizes the “stand your ground” and castle doctrines of self-defense. After meticulously analyzing your case, we recommend a self-defense argument if we believe you have a valid claim. We may also seek a lesser charge to spare you a life sentence or the death penalty. For example, we may argue that the killing was an accident and should therefore have been charged as manslaughter. Likewise, we may hammer away at the aggravating factors to obtain a second-degree, instead of first-degree, murder conviction, if appropriate in your case.
Consult our firm for an aggressive defense to your murder charges
For a zealous defense of the most serious charges, call Takakjian & Sitkoff, LLP at 888-579-4844 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation. We are available to visit incarcerated clients throughout Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange and surrounding counties 24/7.