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Murder and Attempted Murder Charges

Humboldt County Murder Defense

scale of justice

There is hardly a more serious crime than murder. The attorney at the Law Offices of Benjamin Okin is highly experienced in handling all levels of murder cases before charges are filed, at the pretrial proceedings and at trial.

History of Success

Three recent murder cases that went to jury trial:

  • 1st/2nd Degree Murder. Pre-trial intervention led to filing of lesser charges. Litigated to Misdemeanor Battery charge. (People v SR)
  • 1st Degree Murder - After Appeal of Life Without Possibility of Parole, Sentence. Client Received Life With Possibility of Parole (People v. SC)
  • 2nd Degree Murder - Four Counts - Quadruple Homicide - Not Guilty all Four Counts of Murder, Convicted of Lesser Manslaughter Crime. After a successful appeal by our attorney, sentenced reduced and client served less than three years in a State Prison fire camp. (People v. CB).
  • Attempted Murder - Multiple Firearm Shots at Close Range. Attempted Murder Charge Dismissed by Judge on Penal Code 995 Insufficient Evidence Motion. Client plead to assault with a deadly weapon for less than 7 years prison. (People v NT)

Why do You Even Need an Attorney?

The prosecution will assign a senior attorney to any case in which the result of the crime is the death of another person. The prosecution will be under a lot of pressure from the deceased person's family, loved ones, and community to get the maximum penalty allowed by law. You will need an attorney that can properly respond and defend you or your loved one. The potential consequences are too great not to do so.

Murder and Attempted Murder Charges in CA

Murder is the unlawfully taking of the life of another human being with malice aforethought. Malice is a mental state by which there is an express or implied intent to take the life of another person. If the is evidence that the express malice, then it is First Degree Murder. If implied malice, it is Second Degree Murder.

First Degree Murder - Penal Code 187

First-degree murder is the unlawful taking of the life of another human being with express malice aforethought. Express malice means that the act that caused the death of another was willful, deliberate, and premeditated. That is, you intended to and did cause death by your action.

Felony Murder Rule (Death in the Commission of Certain Felonies) - Penal Code 189

If during the commission or attempted commission of certain serious/violent felony offenses, a person other than an accomplice is killed, it is first-degree felony murder. This means that if you are involved in one of the specified serious or violent felonies, but are not the one who caused the death and/or had no intention of anyone getting hurt, you are still criminally liable for anyone's death. Even if the cause of death was negligent or accidental, it is still first-degree felony murder. There is no requirement that the prosecutor prove any kind of malice in the act that caused death.

First Degree Murder (Use of Destructive Device Etc..) Penal Code 189

If death is caused by an explosive device, a destructive device, a weapon of mass destruction, armor penetrating bullets, poisoning, torturing, or lying in wait, it is murder in the first degree.

Punishment for First Degree Murder

The minimum sentence if convicted of first-degree murder is 25 years to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The reality is that if convicted of first-degree murder, you will spend the rest of your life in prison. Additionally, if there are special circumstances, the prosecutor can even elect to seek capital punishment or the death penalty.

Second Degree Murder (Implied Malice Murder) - Penal Code 188

Second-degree murder is the killing of another human being with an abandoned and malignant heart - but without being provoked (implied malice). That is, you were conscience that your conduct is reckless and endangered human life, you understood that the probable consequence of your reckless conduct is the death of another human being, and you disregarded that consequence by continuing to act in extremely reckless manner. An often used example of second-degree murder would be firing a loaded gun into a crowd of people. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs causing the death of another person is another common example of where a person might be charged with second-degree murder (Watson Murder)

Attempted Murder (Penal Code 664/187)

Attempted murder is where you intended to kill another person and took at least one direct step towards killing that person. A direct step might by shooting a gun at another person but missing, stabbing another person in the chest, hiring a third person to kill another human being, or rigging explosives that fail to detonate. Punishment for attempted murder where the intent to kill another person was premeditated is life in prison with the possibility of being paroled. The maximum punishment for attempted murder where the intent to kill was not premeditated is 9 years in state prison.

Manslaughter (Penal Code 192)

Manslaughter is the killing of another human being without malice. There are two types of manslaughter; voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter is a death caused in a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion. The maximum punishment for voluntary manslaughter is 11 years in prison. Involuntary manslaughter is negligently the causing death of another human being. The maximum punishment for involuntary manslaughter is four years of incarceration.

Vehicular Manslaughter is driving a vehicle in an unlawful or dangerous manner, not amounting to a felony, causing the death of another person. If the unlawful or dangerous driving is done with gross negligence, then the maximum punishment is six years in state prison. If the unlawful act is done with ordinary negligence, the maximum punishment is one year in county jail.

Sentencing Enhancements (Penal Code 12022 et seq)

Aside from the punishment from the act of killing another human being alone, there are often sentencing enhancements that need to be factored into a person's maximum time they can be incarcerated. These sentencing enhancements are added on top of whatever punishment is ordered from the particular crime if committed in commission of a felony:

  • Personal possession of firearm - add 1-year incarceration - PC 12022(a)(1)
  • Causing great bodily injury or death - add 3 year in prison - Pc 12022.7
  • Personal use of a firearm - add 3, 4, or 10 years in prison- PC 12022.5
  • Personal use of a firearm during certain serious/violent felonies - add 10 years in prison - PC 12022.53(b)
  • Discharge of a firearm during certain serious/violent felonies - add 20 years in prison- PC 12022.53(c)
  • Discharge of firearm during certain serious/violent felony causing great bodily injury/death - add 25 years to life in prison - PC 12022.53(d)

Humboldt County's Premier Criminal Defense Firm

If you or a loved one is being sought, questioned or charged with any degree of murder or manslaughter, it is important to contact a murder qualified attorney to get started on your case today. Law enforcement dedicates a substantial amount of time and resources to gathering evidence to secure a conviction in court.

You or your loved one needs an experienced attorney to immediately start working on your behalf. We are Humboldt County's Premier Criminal Defense Firm. Benjamin Okin has extensive direct and indirect experience in defending persons accused of murder and manslaughter.

Contact us at (888) 586-7920 today!

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Law Offices of Benjamin Okin - Eureka Criminal Defense Attorney
Located at 309 O Street Eureka, CA 95501. View Map
Phone: (888) 586-7920 | Local Phone: (707) 502-3124.