How To Fight Your Murder Charge PC 187 in Los Angeles

Understanding a California murder charge PC 187(a) and how to fight your charges in court


Being charged with murder PC 187(a) in California can have life-changing consequences for you and your loved ones. Unfortunately, many defendants will have no choice but to accept a court appointed criminal defense attorney, also known as a public defender.


When your future and liberty are at stake, hiring your own California criminal defense attorney has many advantages. California criminal defense attorneys are not free but the benefits of a competent criminal defense in court are priceless. Learn more about the difference of having your own criminal defense lawyer VS a public defender.


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Understanding a murder PC 187(a) charge in California


PC 187(a): Murder is defined as the unlawful killing with malice and without the legal justification of another human being.


PC 664/187(a): Attempted murder is described as taking an ineffective but significant step towards killing another individual with the specific intention of killing that individual.


According to the above definitions, even if the defendant did not specifically intend to kill another person, the crime of murder may be charged. Still, the crime of attempted murder requires the defendant to intend to kill another person.

The definition of murder is short, but it takes a deeper understanding of the definition to comprehend the law of murder. Below is a review of the various terms in the definition of murder and attempted murder), including the often misunderstood concept of malice's forethought. Moreover, you will find an explanation of the differences between the degrees of murder, such as first-degree murder versus second-degree murder. Punishment is also included, as are common defenses against murder and attempted murder.

PC 187(a) Conditions

The term unlawful killing means that some killings, such as killings punishable by the State of California for death penalty crimes or taking someone off life support, are lawful.

Another human being implies that where animals are killed or where a person commits suicide, murder is not found. Another human being is considered to be killing a fetus. A fetus is defined by medical terms and in the last trimester of pregnancy, generally means an unborn person.

The term without legal justification in PC 187(a) implies that some killings are not considered murder because there is legal justification, such as self-defense killings.

The term malice aforethought in the definition of murder is the most commonly misunderstood term, and it implies that the defendant committed the killing while the defendant was in a particular mental state of mind. There are four different kinds of mental conditions that make up the preconception of malice. Only one of the mental states below needed to discover that the defendant acted with malice's forethought (PC 187(a)).

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Intent to kill: The first way to show the forethought of malice is with the specific intention of killing. Intent to kill implies that the defendant intended to kill another individual.

Circumstantial evidence Used to Prove Intent: The prosecutor will often rely on circumstantial evidence to prove the defendant's intention to murder the victim if the defendant does not confess that he or she intended to kill another person. For example, shooting a person in the head at point-blank range would be good proof, even without the defendant's confession, that the defendant intended to kill the victim.

Transferred Intent: When the defendant intends to kill another person but kills a person other than the one the defendant intended to kill, the intention of the defendant to kill will be transferred to the actual victim from the intended victim. For example, if the defendant intended to kill his wife by shooting her, but the defendant killed another person when the defendant shot at his wife, then the intent to kill his wife will be transferred to the actual victim. This is true even if the defendant never intended to kill the other individual in reality.


Intent to commit significant bodily injury (GBI): The second way to demonstrate malice prediction u