Penal Code 187(a) – Murder in California

By: Wallin & Klarich

In Penal Code 187 (a), California law defines murder as “the unlawful killing of a human being or a fetus with malice aforethought.”

Malice aforethought is a necessity in murder as opposed to manslaughter. This is a state of mind where someone intends to kill a person but not necessarily out of spite or hatred.

Malice Aforethought can also exist if there is an intentional infliction of serious bodily harm that causes the victim’s death or behavior which shows extreme reckless disregard for the value of human life, resulting in the victim’s death. Thus, Murder is an intentional killing.

Many states have mandatory minimum sentences for murder and characterize murder as either in the first or second degree. First degree murder involves the state’s ultimate penalty which is usually death or life in prison without the possibility of parole whereas in second degree murder, sentences are for a term of years and parole eligibility.

If you or someone you love has been accused of a serious crime in California, namely a murder charge, contact the experienced San Bernardino California criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today at 1-888-280-6839 and visit to set up a consultation appointment.

Posted In: Violent Crimes