First and second degree murder under Penal Code 187 are very serious and have very grave consequences for persons convicted. For that reason, a person charged with first or second degree murder should seek legal counsel right away to determine what kind of defenses can be developed to defend the charge and to preserve evidence and witness statements in advance of trial.
A competent criminal defense lawyer will consider all possible defenses to a murder charge, including: attempting to suppress evidence gained by illegal search and seizure; exclusion of confessions in violation of Miranda; mistaken identity and/or a lack of intent on part of the defendant. An aggressive defense attorney will try and poke holes in the state’s case to show discrepancies in the effort to show the prosecution has failed to prove its murder case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Under Penal Code 187, murder is the unlawful killing of another person with premeditation and malice. A premeditated murder charge carries with it the possibility of 25 years to life in state prison. If special circumstances regarding the crime exist (e.g., prior murder conviction, multiple victims or public official), the prosecution can seek the death penalty.
If an individual kills another without premeditation, he or she can be charged with second degree murder charge under Penal Code 187. A second degree murder conviction can result in a sentence of 15 years to life in state prison. Prosecutors cannot ask for the death penalty with this charge.
Common defenses to a PC 187 charge include: challenging law enforcement’s unlawful search and seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment; self-defense and defense of others; accident; insanity; and/or mistaken identity. If you have been charged with murder, contact our offices immediately so we can begin building your defense to the charges.
People who are charged with murder, regardless of what degree, need a strong defense to have any chance of establishing reasonable doubt at trial. Our criminal defense lawyers defend our clients aggressively and competently.
Client charged with possession for sales and gang enhancement. Client faced 16 years in prison with the gang and prior strike allegation. Client turned down 8 year pretrial offer with prior attorney before going to trial. Not guilty on all charges at trial. (People v. Antwan B.)
Client charged with attempt murder, accessory after the fact and gang enhancement after shots fired at a dwelling. Client turned down 15 year pretrial offer. During trial, plea deal reached for probation with time served. (People v. Rudy B.)
Client charged with resisting arrest, obstruction of justice when cops performed a probation sweep at her residence. Client found not guilty on all counts at jury trial. (People v. Felicia M.)
Client charged with corporal injury to girlfriend after argument allegedly escalated. Client had significant exposure of 21 years because of prior strike, probation violation and GBI allegation. At trial, jury refused to convict client, returning hung verdict. (People v. Christopher P.)
Client charged with possession of methamphetamine for sale after traffic stop. Client claimed prejudice by prosecution’s delay in bringing the case to court. Motion filed on behalf of client asking the Court to dismiss the case as violative of client’s speedy trial rights. Motion granted and case dismissed. (People v. Shannon J.)