Under California law, homicide may be categorized by several different crimes and differing degrees. Once a crime is investigated and deemed a homicide, skilled homicide detectives are assigned to the case to determine the manner in which the homicide was committed and the reasons or motivation behind the homicide. Therefore, you need an experienced homicide attorney to help you defend your case.
Obviously, the most serious homicides are murders, pursuant to Penal Code section 187(a). Murder, as defined by Penal Code section 187(a) is the “unlawful killing of a human being (or fetus) with malice aforethought”. Murder necessarily requires malice aforethought, as compared to other homicides such as manslaughter, which does not. An individual acts with malice aforethought when he acts with “wanton disregard for human life” and does an act that involves a “high degree of probability that it will result in death”. Penal Code 187(a) states that malice may be express or implied. Express malice is when an individual specifically intends to kill the victim. On the other hand, malice may be implied when there is an intentional act whose natural consequences are dangerous to human life, and the act was performed with knowledge of this danger and with conscious disregard for human life. Malice is a prerequisite for both first and second degree murder.
First degree murder is often a killing that is willful, deliberate and premeditated. It may also be charged in killings using a destructive device or explosive, those involving lying in wait, or by way of the felony-murder rule (which establishes liability for murder for individuals and/or their accomplices who kill another person during the commission of a dangerous enumerated felony). Second degree murder, on the other hand, is murder that is not deliberate or premeditated, but is considered willful under the law. Examples of second degree murder include shooting a gun into a crowd and killing someone or killing someone when you are driving drunk after you have already been convicted of DUI. The felony-murder rule may also be employed when charging second degree murder.
Homicides, however, need not necessarily be charged as murder. California’s voluntary manslaughter law pursuant to Penal Code section 192(a) applies to killings that are committed during a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion. This crime is usually seen in cases where murders are reduced by the prosecution or a jury comes back with a lesser verdict to the murder. Prosecutors may also charge the crime of involuntary manslaughter pursuant to Penal Code section 192(b). This crime is charged when you kill another without malice, without the intent to kill, and without conscious disregard for human life. This crime, however, is not considered an accidental death. Rather, it is a death that results from an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony or a lawful act that involves a high degree of risk of great bodily injury or death.
If you or a loved one are charged with a homicide offense, do not face the system alone. There may be a legal defense to the extremely serious homicide charge, such as self- defense, defense of others, imperfect self-defense, accident, etc…Call the Law Offices of Parwana Anwar, PLC today for a skilled Temecula homicide attorney to assist you with your case.