What Should You Do if You Are Accused of Murder in the State of California?
Facing charges of murder in the state of California is a very serious and scary position to be in. No one should have to face this alone and the good news is that you don’t have to. Keep reading to find out the details about murder cases but be sure to contact The Mattern Law Firm at 310-342-8254 to get a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Understand the Charges You Face
One of the first things to do is to make sure that you understand specifically what you are being charged with. Murder is defined as “the act of causing the death of an individual.” This death must be committed with malice for it to qualify as murder. Within this category there are two main types of murder: first-degree and second-degree murder.
First-degree murder is a homicide that was willful, premediated, and deliberate. In other words, for the prosecution to get a conviction for first-degree murder they must prove that you planned to kill or killed someone on purpose. It is also possible to be charged with first-degree murder when you knowingly commit another felony, such as arson or rape, and it causes the death of another person.
Second-degree murder is all other types of murder. Though it is a lesser charge than first-degree murder, second-degree murder can still be punishable by life in prison.
Know Your Rights
If you have been accused of murder then it is most important that you know your right to remain silent. You do not have to answer questions to the police other than very basic questions to determine your identity. The Fifth Amendment assures your right to remain silent. We strongly suggest that you take advantage of this right if you are accused of murder. Ask for an attorney and the police are required by law to stop questioning you until your attorney arrives.
Help Your Attorney Prove Your Innocence
It is helpful for you to make a list of any witness who can testify in your favor or provide an alibi. Your attorney can then investigate this list. Write down anything you remember about the alleged crime or what you were doing at that time. The more information you can provide to your attorney, the better able they will be to build a defense for you.
Do not talk to friends and family about the specifics of the case because anything you say to them (except for your spouse) is not protected by the law and the prosecution can force them to testify against you.
Work with an Experienced Attorney
The most important thing you can do if you are charged with murder is to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At The Mattern Law Firm we are here to help you with your case from start to finish. Contact us at 310-342-8254 for your free legal consultation.