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California Penal Code: Understanding Homicide Charges

Everyone knows that homicide charges are among the most difficult to face. According to the California Penal Code §9.1.177 (2011), homicide is defined as the“unlawful killing of a human being or fetus with malice aforethought.” The only exception in regards to the killing of a fetus is if it is in compliance with the Therapeutic Abortion Act and it is done by a certified physician. In regards to the malice aforethought, this can either be express or implied. Express malice occurs when the individual intended to kill the person. Implied malice aforethought means that there was no provocation for the incident and that their actions showed a malicious heart.

The penalties for murder will vary based on the charges brought. For example, first degree murder can be punished by death in the State of California. Those convicted could also be imprisoned for life without the possibility of parole or given a 25 year sentence. Second degree murder is punished by up to 25 years in state prison or for life if the victim was a peace officer.

In cases of attempted murder, the charges and penalties will differ. California Penal Code §9.1217 (2011) states that the charges and penalties will vary based on who the target of the attempted murder would be. If the target was the Vice President or President of the United Sates, or any other official, the individual could be sent to prison for up to 15 years. It is also considered attempted murder when an individual purposefully attempts to sabotage a train. They could be charged with a felony and sent to state prison for life without parole. As murder charges are so serious, you should contact our team if you are facing these types of charges. We will fight tirelessly to defend your rights!