What Is Murder?

California Penal Code § 187 defines murder as the unlawful killing of another human being. While this includes planning to kill someone, you can also be charged with murder without planning to kill someone. If you show careless disregard for human life which ends in the killing of another person, you can be charged with murder. 

At Wallin & Klarich we don’t believe your life should be defined by one mistake. You don’t want to face the possibility of conviction alone. Contact our Anaheim murder defense attorneys today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL for a free legal consultation! 

Murder Versus Manslaughter – PC 187

The difference between murder and manslaughter is murder requires malice aforethought while manslaughter does not. Malice aforethought is your intention to kill at the time of the killing. For a murder conviction, the Anaheim prosecutor must demonstrate that you acted with either express or implied malice. 

  • Express malice: You clearly intended to kill the other person. For example, someone walks into a bar with a loaded gun and shoots another person. 
  • Implied malice: You understood that the other person could be killed as a consequence of your actions. For example, someone handles a gun while drunk, the gun goes off and kills another person. 

First-Degree Murder in Anaheim – PC 187

A first degree murder charge will occur if there’s evidence of premeditation and deliberation. They’ll also attempt to show you acted with express malice (except for felony murder cases discussed below). The following circumstances automatically warrant first-degree murder charges in Anaheim: 

  • Thinking and planning the killing. This can take place in a matter of seconds or much longer.
  • Killing the alleged victim with a bomb or other explosive device. 
  • Lying in wait for the victim. 
  • Torturing the victim (PC 206).
  • The court applies the felony murder rule to your case.

Premeditation & Deliberation

Premeditation and deliberation is the intent to kill a person after willful deliberation. This can take place in a matter of seconds. For example, you’re charged with first-degree murder for shooting your victim. The prosecution could argue that you had time to think about the killing when you retrieved the gun from your basement. Suppose you shot him five times. They could also argue you had time between each shot to stop and think about the killing or call for help. 

This is yet another reason to consult with our Anaheim defense attorneys. We know how to challenge the prosecution’s false claims. Receive your free consultation and expert representation! Call us today for your free consultation! 

Capital Murder | PC 187

Capital murder is a form of aggravated murder. If you face these charges, you must contact a skilled attorney immediately.  The prosecution pursues a capital murder conviction if your murder case involves any of the following:   

  • Motivation for financial gain 
  • Prejudice (hate crime)
  • Murder of a police officer, firefighter, prosecutor, judge, juror, elected official, or court witness 
  • Drive-by shooting 
  • Involvement in a street gang
  • Multiple victims 

Changes To California Felony Murder Law | Senate Bill 1437

On January 1, 2019, Senate Bill 1437 made significant changes to California’s felony murder law. Now, the felony murder rule applies to special circumstances, including: 

  • You murder the alleged victim during the attempt or commission of a felony
  • You help someone deliberately kill someone. 
  • You played a critical role in a felony, which involved “reckless indifference to human life.”
  • You murdered a peace officer performing their duties. 

First-degree Felony Murder

You may face first-degree felony charges if your actions directly caused an individual’s death during the attempt or commission of a dangerous felony in Anaheim. While this list is not all-inclusive, the court can apply the new felony murder rule to any felony that presents a clear danger to human life, including the following crimes:   

  • Arson – PC 451
  • Burglary – PC 459
  • Robbery – PC 211
  • Rape – PC 261
  • Carjacking – PC 215
  • Kidnapping – PC 207
  • Torture – PC 206

Second-Degree Murder in Anaheim | PC 187

Second-degree murder, while lesser than the above crimes, still carries serious consequences. The prosecution typically files second-degree charges when they don’t believe there’s enough evidence for a first-degree conviction. The prosecution must prove implied malice or disregard for human life. The following situations are examples of second-degree murder:

  • Firing a gun in traffic and killing someone
  • Driving under the influence with previous DUIs and causing a fatal crash
  • Hitting someone in the head and causing a fatal fracture

Second-Degree Felony Murder

The prosecution files second-degree felony murder charges in the following circumstances: 

  • Your case doesn’t fit the guidelines of first-degree murder. 
  • You caused a person’s death during a felony.

Anaheim Murder Penalties | Consequences of Conviction

 Murder is one of the most severe convictions anyone faces. With penalties ranging from 15 years in prison to the death sentence, you need an experienced defense lawyer committed to proving your innocence. The following are a list of penalties for murder.

First-Degree Murder Penalties

  • 25 years to life in state prison 

Capital Murder Penalties 

  • Death (gas chamber or lethal injection)
  • A life sentence without parole

Second-Degree Murder Penalties 

  • 15 years to life in prison with no possibility of parole 
  • 20 years to life if found guilty of murder involving a “drive-by shooting.”
  • 25 years to life if found guilty of killing a peace officer 
  • Life in prison if found guilty of murdering a peace officer during an assault with a deadly weapon or firearm

Murder Defense Strategies | Defeat False Accusations 

You face the battle of a lifetime defeating murder charges, and this is one you don’t want to face alone. At Wallin & Klarich, we help you through this difficult time. Our skilled murder defense lawyers and skilled investigators are devoted to your defense. We’ve defended clients accused of murder in Anaheim for over 40 years. Below are effective defense strategies that we’ve used in past murder cases.  


Wallin & Klarich has protected many clients accused of murder after defending themselves. We’ll protect your right to self-defense. If the alleged victim made threats or made you fear for your life, we’ll search for evidence that supports this defense. For this defense to be successful, we must demonstrate that you:

  • Feared death or great bodily harm
  • Reasonably believed the alleged victim was going to severely injure or kill you 
  • Believed deadly force was the only way to stop the attack
  • Used only necessary force to stop the direct threat. 

Accidental Killing

The prosecution must establish your state of mind at the time of the killing. The state can’t convict you of murder if they can’t prove you intended to kill the alleged victim through express or implied malice. 

We could use this defense if you were involved in an accidental killing, like a gun accident. Your attorney will argue that you didn’t act with disregard for human life or intent to kill. If successful, the prosecutor may reduce or dismiss your charges. 

Killing In The Heat Of Passion

We argue the heat of passion defense in cases where a heated argument led to murder. Your skilled attorney must argue that your actions resulted from the alleged victim’s provocation. The court could reduce your murder charge to voluntary manslaughter, significantly decreasing your penalties from a possible life sentence to 11 years in prison. 

For example, a woman catches her spouse having an affair. The lover confronts the wife, causing rage and distorting her judgment. The wife shoots the lover. We must prove the lover’s provocation caused the wife to shoot before thinking. In addition to this, our argument must stress that any person would’ve reacted the same way. 

Choosing A Top Murder Defense Attorney | We’ll Fight For You

With so many defense lawyers competing for your attention, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or hire the wrong one. When you choose a murder defense attorney, you need to evaluate what they can do for you. Do they have experience and a solid track record defending clients accused of murder? Are your best interests their priority? Don’t just take their word for it. Consider how they make you feel as well. Wallin & Klarich has years of experience fighting complex legal battles. It’s easy for us to articulate what we bring to the table that separates us from other Anaheim defense firms. We are known for the following characteristics:

  1. Trusted Legal Advocates
  2. Exceptional Negotiators
  3. 40+ Years of Practice 
  4. Specialized Legal Expertise 

Trusted Legal Advocates | The Wallin & Klarich Difference 

You need to be able to trust your murder defense attorney. It’s bad enough you have to worry about the prosecution without having to wonder about your defense team. With Wallin & Klarich, you never have to question our loyalty. You’ll always receive one-on-one attention and genuine care when you visit our office. We are here for you when you need us, and we’re always prepared to fight for your best interests.

Exceptional Negotiators | 40+ Years of Success

You also need a murder defense lawyer who understands the best way to negotiate inside and outside of court. We’ve honed our negotiation skills during our 40+ years of practice, and we continue to strive for excellence. Find out how our expert negotiators can help you beat a wrongful murder conviction in Anaheim, CA. Contact us today toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a local criminal defense attorney that you can trust! 

We’re here to help you!

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