Newport Beach Murder Defense Attorney
Newport Beach has a low crime rate- the violent crime rate is about 67 percent lower than California as a whole. In 2010, there were zero murders or manslaughters in Newport Beach, and crime statistics predict the murder/manslaughter rate for 2012 will also be zero. But regardless, crime can happen anywhere, and if there is an accusation of murder, it is incredibly important to be represented by an experienced Newport Beach murder defense attorney.
Murder is defined as the killing of another person with “malice aforethought” in California. Malice aforethought means with premeditation. Penal Code section 187(a) deals with murder in California, and there are several levels of murder. Murder can be in the first or second degree, or can also be “felony murder,” which is causing the death of another person while committing another felony crime. An example of the felony murder rule would be a situation involving a group of people participating in plot to kidnap someone. Along the way, the victim dies due to poor treatment by her captors. Although the perpetrators did not have the initial intentions of killing their victim, they would still be guilty of murder by the felony murder rule.
Punishments for murder are severe. California has the death penalty, so if someone is convicted of murder the possible punishment runs up to execution. Even if it is not a capital crime, first degree murder carries a sentence of 25 years to life in prison, and it can be elevated to life without parole in certain cases. Even the lower degree crime of second degree murder carries a penalty of 15 years to life, which can also be aggravated or increased based on the circumstances of the crime.
One of the most common defenses for murder is that it was not them that was guilty of the killing and instead someone else. They might question certain pieces of evidence or present alibis and proof that they were not at a certain location during a certain time. In addition, if someone is being charged with first degree murder, they might try and lessen the charges by demoting it to second degree murder or manslaughter. First degree murder includes certain specific elements to be considered as such, such as the presence of premeditation in the crime. Second degree murder differs from this because of the lack of premeditation. An example of an instance of second degree murder would be where two brothers are intensely fighting about their parents will, and one of them spontaneously gets out a weapon and kills the other. There was no premedication on his part because he did not previously plan to kill his brother.
In a murder case, having an experienced Newport Beach murder defense lawyer who knows the California criminal justice system intimately through years of practice is even more crucial than with other criminal offenses. Contact the Johnson Criminal Law Group by phone at (949) 622-5522, where someone is available 24/7 for an initial consultation, or through an online message today.