California First & Second Degree Murder Laws
Being arrested is a harrowing and intimidating process. However, you need not fall into despair. You may be able to post bail and be released from jail pending your trial.
Once you have been arrested, you will be taken to the nearest sheriff or police station and go through the procedure known as booking. Your fingerprints and photographs will be taken, and the authorities will also conduct a background check. You will then be schedule for a bail hearing.
Bail is an amount of money or property given to the court in return for a release from pre-trial detention. In California, bail is set by a panel of judges. Once your bail has been set, you will be allowed to post it and be set free.
The first thing you should do after your bail has been set is to call a professional and licensed bail bondsman. The latter will draw up a contract and fill out the application. Once all paperwork has been completed and the payment made, the bondsmen will go to the jail and post the bond. Bail bonds can be posted in California 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
Why You Should Post a Bond If Charged with Murder or Manslaughter
Murder and manslaughter are two of the most serious crimes in California. If you have been charged with taking the life of another human being, then you need all the resources and advantages you can get. Being out of jail and able to work directly with your lawyer will allow you to more adequately prepare your defense.
California Murder Penal Codes
CA penal code 187 makes it a crime in the state of California to commit the unlawful killing of a human being or fetus with malice aforethought. CA penal code 187 defines malice aforethought as the wanton disregard for human life.
Under California law, you need not set out to commit an act of murder to be charged with this crime. California penal code section 189 makes it possible to convict a person of murder while they were committing a dangerous felony. You can be charged with felony murder under California penal code section 189 if you take someone’s life while engaged in kidnapping, arson, or carjacking.
Types of Sentencing for Murder
These are the types of sentencing for murder in the state of California:
If you are convicted of first-degree murder, you can be imprisoned from a term of 25 years to life. Depending on the egregiousness of the crime, you can be sent to state prison for life without the possibility of parole. The death penalty is still on the books in California, but it is currently suspended.
If you are convicted of second-degree murder, California law requires a sentence of 15 years to life in state prison. This term increases to 20 years to life if it is proved that you killed the victim while shooting a firearm from a motor vehicle. It goes up to 25 years to life if the victim was a peace officer. If you have a prior criminal record, you may be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
California First Degree Murder Laws
California first degree murder laws distinguish between murder and manslaughter. To be convicted of murder, the prosecution must prove that you killed someone with malice aforethought. In other words, they must show that you deliberately intended to murder someone.
First-degree murder is reserved for especially heinous crimes involving premeditation, planning, and deliberation before the commission of the crime. To convict you of such a crime, the prosecutor must gather concrete evidence that shows that you thought through the murder and put together a plan to carry it out.
California Second Degree Murder Laws
If the prosecutor cannot prove malice aforethought, then they may have to pursue second-degree murder charges. California second degree murder laws include all other types of murder that fall short of first-degree murder.
If the prosecution cannot prove murder, they may have to pursue manslaughter.
Manslaughter in California
Manslaughter in California is classified as voluntary or involuntary. To prove that you are guilty of voluntary manslaughter, the prosecution must show that you killed someone in a sudden and unexpected quarrel or while in the heat of passion. They must prove that you intended to inflict severe bodily harm as the result of a heated exchange or argument.
An involuntary manslaughter charge is usually the result of an unintentional homicide that occurred as the result of reckless conduct or the commission of a non-felony crime. To convict you of involuntary manslaughter, the prosecutor must show that you acted recklessly, negligently, carelessly, or unreasonably and that your actions caused the death of another.