March 5, 2013 By Wallin & Klarich

The consequences for any violent crime are severe, but the penalties for murder can be life ending. These cases can vary greatly in consequences, facts, and defenses. Because of their complexity, you need an experienced team to defend you. For over 30 years, the Los Angeles Murder Defense Attorneys from Wallin & Klarich have defended people just like you. We helped them and we can help you too.

What Is Murder?

Under California Penal Code section 187, the crime “murder” refers to the killing of another person with “malice aforethought.” Malice aforethought generally exists where you:

• Intended to kill
• Intended to cause serious bodily injury; or
• Engaged in an activity likely to result in either death or serious bodily injury.

Penal Code section 189 divides murder into two degrees. First-degree is a premeditated and deliberate killing. It can also be a killing accomplished through such as:

• lying in wait • torture • explosives • armor-piercing ammo; and
• where a person dies in the commission of a serious felony

All other murder (that is a killing with malice aforethought) is second-degree murder.

Under Penal Code section 190.1 through 190.5, first-degree murder carries the harshest punishment in California. It is punishable by death, life imprisonment without possibility of parole, or 25 year-to-life in prison. Under section 190(a), second-degree murder convictions can mean a 15 year-to-life prison sentence.

If you have been charged with first or second-degree murder, you need to call an experienced Los Angeles Murder Defense Attorney. Your freedom is on the line and you need the best defending you. When you call, we will use our 30 years of experience to plan the best defense strategy for your case.

How Can I Defend Myself?

In the past, we have used several different defenses to defend people facing these charges. Below we describe just a few.

One of the most common defenses is self-defense or defense of others. If you reasonably believe that you or another person is in imminent danger of death, serious injury, or rape, maiming, or robbery, you may use deadly force to defend yourself.

In some cases, what had occurred was not “murder” at all because the accused did not intend to kill anyone. Where someone dies by accident, murder is usually not the proper charge.

Finally, we should talk about the infamous insanity defense. In California, in order to be “not guilty by reason of insanity,” you must prove that:

• You did not understand the nature of your act; OR • That you cannot distinguish between right and wrong
If you are found not guilty by reason of insanity you will be placed in a mental hospital for evaluation and treatment. You will be returned to court for possible release when it is determined you no longer pose a threat to the community.

If the facts fit, we can argue to reduce murder charges to the related crime of voluntary manslaughter. Under Penal Code section 192(a), voluntary manslaughter is a killing without malice aforethought, but still done intentionally. Essentially, you were in control of your actions, but what you did is not as blameworthy as first or second-degree murder. Under section 193, conviction carries a sentence of 3 to 11 years in prison.

If you face murder charges, you should make sure to retain an experienced Los Angeles Murder Defense Attorney. Over the past 30 years, the Los Angeles Murder Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have defended many people facing these charges. We helped them and we can help you too. Give our office a call at (888) 280-6839. We will get through this together.

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