Murder Defense Attorney | West Covina
What Is Murder?
The crime of murder occurs when someone kills another person either intentionally or with wanton disregard for human life (PC 187). If the prosecution convicts you of murder in West Covina, you could spend the rest of your life behind bars. That’s why it’s critical to seek the help of our experienced murder defense attorneys immediately. We’ll identify the best route to help you avoid a lengthy prison sentence and avoid conviction. Call Wallin & Klarich today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL for your free consultation!
Difference Between Murder & Manslaughter | PC 187
The West Covina prosecutor must prove you killed the victim and were not defending yourself. Unlike manslaughter, a murder conviction also requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that you acted with “malice aforethought,” which refers to your state of mind at the time of the killing. The prosecution must prove malice aforethought through either:
- Express malice: You intended to kill the, for example, shooting your spouse for an insurance payout.
- Implied malice: You knew your actions posed a serious threat to others but disregarded the danger and acted anyway, for example, shooting a gun at a crowded party and killing a person.
First-Degree Murder in West Covina | PC 187
First-degree murder involves premeditation and deliberation, and most cases involve express malice, aside from felony murder (discussed below). Special circumstances where the prosecution may file first-degree murder charges include:
- You thought about and planned the killing, even for a few minutes.
- You used a bomb or other explosive device.
- You ambushed the victim.
- You tortured the victim (PC 206).
- Your case meets the requirements of the felony murder rule.
Premeditation & Deliberation
A first-degree murder conviction requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt of premeditation and deliberation. The prosecution can successfully convict you even if you didn’t plan or think about the killing for very long. For example, the court could consider walking into another room to retrieve a weapon enough time to meet this requirement.
That’s why it’s crucial to immediately contact our skilled West Covina defense attorneys. Receive your free consultation by calling Wallin & Klarich today!
Capital Murder | PC 187
Capital murder is the most serious crime in California. The prosection can file capital murder charges in the following circumstances:
- You were motivated by financial gain.
- You were motivated by prejudice (hate crime).
- The victim was a police officer, firefighter, prosecutor, judge, juror, or elected official.
- The victim was a court witness.
- You killed the victim during a drive-by shooting.
- You killed the victim due to your involvement in a street gang.
- You killed multiple people.
New California Law For Felony Murder | Senate Bill 1437
California recently implemented Senate Bill 1437 on January 1, 2019. Now prosecutors can only file felony murder charges in certain circumstances, including:
- You kill a person while attempting or committing a felony crime
- You help someone carry out the first-degree murder with intent to kill.
- You played a critical role in a felony crime and displayed “reckless indifference to human life.”
- You killed a protected individual, such as a peace officer attempting to perform their duties.
First-degree Felony Murder
Prosecutors could file first-degree felony charges if you attempt or commit a dangerous felony resulting in the victim’s death in West Covina. The new felony murder rule only includes felonies that present an obvious threat to others, including but not limited to:
- Carjacking – PC 215
- Train wrecking – PC 219
- Arson – PC 451
- Burglary – PC 459
- Rape – PC 261
- Unlawful Sodomy – PC 286
- Illegal acts of oral copulation – PC 287
- Forcible acts of penetration – PC 289
- Lewd acts with a minor – PC 288
- Kidnapping – PC 207
- Robbery – PC 211
- Mayhem – PC 203
- Torture – PC 206
Second-Degree Murder in West Covina | PC 187
You may face second-degree murder charges if your case doesn’t meet the requirements of first-degree murder. The prosecution must prove you acted with implied malice to convict you of this crime. We’ve listed some examples of circumstances that may warrant a second-degree murder charge:
- Shooting a gun on a freeway and killing someone
- Continuing to drive drunk after a DUI and killing someone in a crash
- Punching a smaller person and causing a fatal injury
Second-Degree Felony Murder
The prosecution files second-degree felony murder charges in the following circumstances:
- The case doesn’t meet the requirements of first-degree murder.
- You attempted or committed a felony that caused a person’s death.
Murder Sentencing | Legal Penalties You’re Facing
A murder conviction changes your life forever. We’ve summarized the sentencing guidelines for the different types of murder convictions below.
Sentence For First-Degree Murder
- 25 years to life in prison
Sentence For Capital Murder
- Death (gas chamber or lethal injection)
- A life sentence without parole
Sentence For Second-Degree Murder
- 15 years to life without the possibility of parole
- 20 years to life if convicted of a “drive-by shooting.”
- 25 years to life for the murder of a peace officer
- Life in prison for the murder of a peace officer during an assault with a deadly weapon or firearm
Defenses For Murder | How We Can Help You
You need to prepare for the battle of your life when facing murder charges. With Wallin & Klarich, you’ll have a team of top murder defense lawyers and skilled investigators committed to your defense. We have over 40 years of experience defending clients accused of murder in Southern California. We have crafted a variety of effective defenses for murder, including but not limited to:
Your Wallin & Klarich attorney could argue self-defense if the alleged victim made threats or acted in a way that caused you to fear for your life. For this defense to be successful, we must prove the following:
- You feared death or great bodily injury
- You had a justifiable belief that the alleged victim would kill you or severely injure you.
- You reasonably believed deadly force was your only option
- You used only the force necessary to stop the immediate threat.
Note: If you defend yourself in your home, your attorney doesn’t have to demonstrate reasonable fear of severe injury or death in California.
We’ll protect your right to self-defense! Call Wallin & Klarich today for the legal representation you deserve.
The law requires proof of express or implied malice for a murder conviction in California. Accidental killings do not meet these requirements. For example, you take a gun out of the case, and it accidentally fires, killing your roommate.
If you didn’t act with disregard for human life or intent to kill, an accidental killing is grounds for dismissal. We have years of experience with this defense, and we can craft a strong argument to prove your innocence.
Law enforcement has used abusive tactics to coerce confessions from innocent people. The West Covina police are not allowed to use physical or psychological abuse. If you were the victim of a brutal police interrogation, your Wallin & Klarich attorney could argue this defense to get a confession thrown out.
We’ll fight to defend your constitutional rights and help you avoid a wrongful conviction. Receive a free legal consultation by calling us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL!
Killing In The Heat Of Passion
The heat of passion defense applies to cases involving a killing after a sudden argument, where the alleged victim provoked you in some way. If successful, your attorneys could get your murder charge reduced to voluntary manslaughter, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 11 years instead of 15 years to life.
For example, a woman walks in on her spouse having an affair, and she takes a gun out of her purse and shoots them. This is a classic example of a case where we would argue heat of passion.
When using this defense, your attorney must demonstrate the following:
- The alleged victim provoked you.
- Their provocation clouded your judgment and caused you to act out of passion before thinking about your actions.
- Any normal person would’ve acted the same way in similar circumstances.
Hiring A Skilled Defense Attorney | How We Can Assist You
Serious accusations require a skilled and experienced defense attorney. With 40+ years of experience, Wallin & Klarich stands out among the crowd of West Covina criminal defense firms. Our attorneys specialize in defending clients accused of murder and understand the most effective defense strategies. You should consider many factors when choosing a criminal defense lawyer. However, some of the key characteristics that set us apart include:
- Loyal Advocates
- Skilled Negotiators
- Solid Record for 40+ Years
- Specialized Legal Knowledge
Your Loyal Advocates | The Wallin & Klarich Difference
Loyalty is hard to find. Unfortunately, many law firms treat clients like case numbers rather than real people. At Wallin & Klarich, we believe you deserve respect and dedication. But we don’t just say it; we show it through our devotion to your defense and our interactions with you. Our attorneys promptly address all of your concerns because we never want you to feel dismissed or unheard. Rest assured, our communication with you will always be straightforward and genuine. With Wallin & Klarich at your side, you can walk into court confident that we have your best interests in mind. Moreover, we’ll be prepared to put up our strongest fight.
Skilled Negotiators | 40+ Years of Success
Wallin & Klarich has a history of success spanning 40+ years. We’ve obtained the best possible results in complex murder cases and helped our clients avoid spending time behind bars. Their stories stand as a testament to our skilled legal negotiation. More importantly, they renew our motivation to defend others accused of murder in West Covina. Our passion for helping clients has not wavered in over four decades and counting. Discover how our skilled negotiators can help you fight in West Covina, CA. Contact us today toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with an experienced, local murder attorney.
When you need us, we will be here.