Los Angeles Murder Defense Lawyer
Strategically Fighting Serious Accusations
Murder is the unlawful killing of another and is the most serious offense a person can be accused of. California law identifies several types of murder, and each comes with harsh penalties that include up to life imprisonment, and in the most severe cases, death. If you were charged with murder, your future and livelihood are at stake. Even if a conviction does not result in a lifetime in prison, the effects of being found guilty can follow you for years. For instance, you may find it challenging to get a job or find a place to live. You may also be ineligible to receive government benefits, or you may lose certain rights.
Because so much is at stake in a murder case, it’s crucial that you speak with a skilled lawyer about your case. Attorney Ian Wallach has extensive experience in the legal field and has handled thousands of criminal matters. He knows how the judicial system works and how the prosecutor presents their case. Using this knowledge, he can develop a legal strategy tailored for your specific needs and will seek to obtain an optimal result on your behalf.
For the compassionate and zealous representation you need, call The Law Offices of Ian Wallach, P.C. at (213) 375-0000. Ian Wallach provides effective defense for those facing charges in Los Angeles.
First-Degree, Second-Degree, and Felony Murder
In California, when a person takes another’s life, they may face charges for one or more homicide offenses. We’ll examine those involving first-degree, second-degree, and felony murder.
Under California Penal Code 187, first- and second-degree murder occur when someone kills another with malice aforethought. Malice aforethought is the defendant’s state of mind at the time of the offense.
It can be express or implied:
- Express malice is when the person intentionally intended to cause the death of another.
Implied malice is when:
- The individual intentionally engaged in a specific act;
- The conduct put the life of another at risk;
- The individual knew of the potential consequences of their behavior; and
- They continued with the conduct and consciously disregarded human life
First-degree murder can be committed in several ways:
- By willful, deliberate, and premeditated actions
- By lying in wait
- By torture
- By destructive device or explosive
- By weapon of mass destruction
- By armor or metal penetrating ammunition
- By discharging a firearm from a vehicle
- By poison
Any unlawful homicide committed by means other than those listed above is considered second-degree murder.
Felony murder is different from first- and second-degree murder in that it’s not necessary for the state to prove that the defendant intended to cause someone else’s death.
A felony murder charge can arise in the following situation:
- The accused committed or attempted to commit one or more felonies;
- The intention was to commit the felony; and
- While the accused was committing or attempting to commit the felony, they caused another person’s death
Felony murder can be charged as first- or second-degree.
What Are the Penalties for Murder?
The penalties a court may impose upon a conviction for murder depend on the degree of the offense. First-degree murder and first-degree felony murder are punishable by death, life imprisonment without parole, or imprisonment for 25 years to life.
For second-degree murder and second-degree felony murder, the penalties include 15 years to life in prison. However, aggravating factors may result in a longer sentence.
Are There Defenses to a Murder Charge?
Although murder is a serious charge, a person accused of it is innocent until proven guilty, and several defenses can be raised to challenge the accusation. For instance, causing death may be justifiable if the act was done to protect oneself, another person, or one’s property. A warranted killing is lawful and not a crime.
However, for a jury to find a person not guilty of murder under self-defense, the defendant must show that they:
- Reasonably believed that they were in imminent danger of harm, or that someone in their home was committing or intending to commit a violent or forcible crime;
- Had to use deadly force to prevent the harm from occurring; and
- Used an amount of force necessary under the circumstances
It’s important to note that while defenses may be available, every case is unique and must be approached on its own merits. Ian Wallach will examine the details of your case to build a defense specific to your needs.
Responsive and Attentive Legal Representation
If you’ve been accused of murder, you’ll likely have many questions and want regular updates about your case. Attorney Ian Wallach will respond promptly and help you understand how your case is progressing.
Admitted to Practice Law in California, New York, & Colorado
Board of Directors Member for National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Not Afraid of Going to Trial
An Abundance of Notable Case Outcomes
Compassionate Client Service & Innovative Legal Strategies
Member of the United States Supreme Court Bar