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    Top 100 Trial Attorneys in California 2012-2014, 2008 Trial Attorney of the Year by the Riverside County Public Defender's Office, and dozens of other awards and accolades.

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What You Need to Know About Facing Murder Charges in California

Posted in Criminal Defense,General FAQ'S,Sentencing on February 25, 2022

Few crimes carry as severe penalties as murder charges. When you have been arrested and accused of murder, you can expect your entire life to be upheaved. The consequences of a murder conviction could haunt you for the rest of your life. It is essential that you have an aggressive California murder lawyer defending you.

Here is more about what you will need to know as you face California murder charges. Make sure you contact the Law Offices of Graham D. Donath for a confidential case review.

Types of California Murder Charges

Under CA Penal Code § 189, murder is the act of causing death to another person. In order for you to be convicted of murder, the prosecuting attorney will need to be able to prove that you acted in malice, also known as malice aforethought, and with an intent to kill.

There are two primary types of murder charges in California. First-degree murder and second-degree murder. If you have been accused of first-degree murder, you have been accused of willfully and deliberately killing someone with premeditation. 

First-degree murder charges may also apply in cases of other felonies where a person succumbed to injuries such as rape, arson, assault, and other felony crimes. Second-degree murder charges encompass all other types of killings, except in cases of capital murder. 

If you are convicted of murder in California, you could face severe penalties. Depending on the details of your case, if you are convicted of first-degree or second-degree murder, you could spend twenty-five years to life in prison, or even be sentenced to death.

How Bail Works When You Are Facing Murder Charges in California

Many people are anxious to post bail after they have been arrested. But the only way that you can post bail is if the judge grants bail in your case. If you are facing murder charges, your attorney will need to work with the judge to see if bail can be arranged. Some of the ways your criminal defense lawyer can help you get bail for murder charges in California Include 

  • Review in your case to determine if bail should be lowered or if you could be released on your own recognizance (ROR)
  • Showing that the prosecution does not have enough evidence to support the murder charges against you
  • Working to get the murder charges against you dropped entirely
  • Get the bail bondsman charge fees reduced wherever possible 

What to Do After You Are Arrested On California Murder Charges 

If you have been arrested on murder charges in California, it is critical that you exercise your rights. Many people have suffered severe criminal penalties when they fail to understand and exercise their rights after being questioned and charged with a crime. Here is what to do if you have been accused of murder:

  • Do not answer any questions from police or law enforcement officials
  • Remain silent— anything you say could be used to aid in the police investigation against you
  • Get a murder attorney, you have the right to an attorney or to have one appointed to you 
  • Call your family to start working on bail; you have the right to call someone after your arrest

Even if you think speaking with police will clear up the murder charges against you, it may be well-advised for you to remain silent until you have the opportunity to speak with your murder lawyer about the details of your case.

Meet With a California Murder Lawyer Today

Now that you have a basic understanding of what to expect as you face the murder charges against you, it is time to take action. Get an experienced California murder attorney at the Law Offices of Graham D. Donath to represent you. We may be able to help you get your charges reduced or dismissed depending on the circumstances of your case. 

Schedule your initial consultation when you contact our Riverside office at 951-667-5293 or our Orange County office at 714-758-5293. Or, fill out our secured contact form and we will reach out to you to find out more about the murder charges against you.