Orange County Criminal Lawyers
Santa Ana Lawyer for Murder Defense
Crime in Santa Ana is on the rise, and so are arrests for a variety of unlawful homicides. However, in order to prove that a person is guilty of murder, prosecutors must prove all three elements of the offense. They must prove that an act was committed that resulted in death to another person (or fetus). They must prove that an act was committed with malice aforethought, and they must prove that a person was killed without lawful justification. To ensure prosecutors actually meet that burden if you’ve been charged with murder, you will need to be represented by a reputable Orange County criminal defense attorney like Lauren K. Johnson.
Many people do not understand the “felony-murder rule.” In California, you can be charged with felony-murder if you, or an accomplice, should happen to kill another person, even accidentally, during the commission of certain dangerous felonies. Under felony-murder, what might have previously been a charge of manslaughter gets elevated to the charge of murder. Furthermore the prosecutor no longer has to prove the act was committed with malice aforethought.
An example of this could be that during the course of a home invasion, a defendant who is armed with a pistol accidentally causes a fire that burns the house down and kills the occupants. Even though the deaths were accidental, the defendant will still be liable for murder under California's felony-murder rule.
Murders are usually thought of to either be considered first degree murder or second degree murder. Murders of the first degree are the most serious. It has the most severe penalties and consequences. First degree murder is characterized by the element of premeditation. This means that the defendant must have pre-planned the act of murdering their victim or victims and they had the full intentions of committing it beforehand. An example of first degree murder would be a disgruntled employee taking weeks to execute the perfect murder plan of breaking into his boss’s home and shooting him with a firearm. He would have taken that amount of time to track his schedule by lying in wait and seeing when his boss would be home alone by familiarizing himself with his boss’s daily routine. The employee had full intentions of committing the murder and pre-planned how he was going to execute it. With second degree murder, on the other hand, that is not the case. Although the defendant would have the full intentions of committing the murder and an understanding of what their actions would entail, there is a lack of any sort of premeditation. The defendant most often would act impulsively. Another type of murder that is classified as of the second degree is when someone only acts in order to cause serious bodily injury on another, but instead, ends up killing them. For example, if a member of a gang were to attack someone only to give them a warning about their actions that are affiliated with a rivaling gang, and not to actually kill them, if the victim still ends up dying, then the gang member would be charged with second degree murder because the gang member knew that the attack had the potential to kill the victim.
Santa Ana murder defense lawyer Lauren K. Johnson knows that any death that is logically related to the felony could suffice, including unforeseeable deaths, so long as there is more than a mere coincidence between the homicide and the other felony.
If you’ve been charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, felony-murder or manslaughter, call Orange County homicide defense attorney Lauren K. Johnson today at (949) 622-5522. She has a proven track record in the City of Santa Ana.