By: Gregory Rollins
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10 Homicide-Related Crimes And Enhancements
“Homicide” is defined as the killing of a human being by another human being. In California, there are different types of homicide. Some types of homicide are allowed under the law while other types of homicide are classified as “murder.” “Murder is defined in Penal Code section 187 as “the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.” All types of murder are crimes, some of which are punishable by life in prison or even, in some cases, execution. Below you will find a list of 10 homicide-related crimes.
1. Capital Murder: Capital murder, or murder with special circumstances, is a form of first-degree murder. Penal Code 190.2 lists all the special circumstances that elevate a murder to capital murder. Some of the special circumstances include murder for financial gain, committing a murder having a prior murder conviction, or murdering multiple victims. Capital murder is punishable by death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
2. First Degree Murder: Penal Code section 189 lays out all of the types of murder that are first degree. Some examples of first-degree murder include murder committed with poison, an explosive, during torture, or after lying in wait. First degree murder requires both premeditation and malice aforethought. First degree murder is punishable by life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, or 25 years to life in prison.
3. Second Degree Murder: According to Penal Code section 189, second degree murder is any type of murder that does not qualify as first-degree murder. While second degree murder does not require premeditation, malice aforethought is still required. In most cases, second degree murder is punishable by 15 years to life in prison.
4. Voluntary Manslaughter: Manslaughter is defined as the “unlawful killing of a human being without malice.” According to Penal Code section 192, voluntary manslaughter occurs when a killing is committed “upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion.” Essentially, voluntary manslaughter is an unlawful killing committed without malice but with conscious disregard for life. Voluntary manslaughter is punishable by three, six, or eleven years in prison.
5. Involuntary Manslaughter: Involuntary manslaughter is defined as the unlawful killing of a human being without malice in the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to a felony, or in the commission of a lawful act that might produce death, in an unlawful manner, or without due caution.” Involuntary manslaughter is punishable by two, three, or four years in county jail.
6. Vehicular Manslaughter: Penal Code section 192 creates a special type of manslaughter that is committed while driving a vehicle and committing an unlawful act that does not amount to a felony. The unlawful act can be committed with or without gross negligence depending on the circumstances. Vehicle manslaughter also applies in situations where a death occurs while causing an accident for financial gain. Vehicular manslaughter is punishable in a variety of ways depending on the circumstances, but the punishment can range from a misdemeanor conviction to a felony conviction with a potential prison sentence of two, four, or six years.
7. “Watson” Murder: Under “People v. Watson,” a person with a prior DUI conviction can be charge with second degree murder in California if that person kills someone else while driving under the influence. As a form of second-degree murder, a “Watson” murder is punishable by 15 years to life in state prison.
8. Felony Murder: Felony murder is a legal doctrine punishing a murder committed during the course of committing, preparing for, or attempting certain serious felonies as first-degree murder. Penal Code section 189 lists out the felonies that are covered under the felony murder doctrine, including arson, rape, robbery, and others.
9. Attempted Murder: Attempted murder is defined under Penal Code 664/187 and occurs when a person intends to kill someone and takes a direct but ineffectual act toward committing the murder. Attempted murder applies to both first degree and second-degree murder. Attempted murder only applies to situations where a person actually intended to kill someone else. Attempted first degree murder is punishable by life in prison with the possibility of parole. Attempted second degree murder is punishable by five, seven, or nine years in prison.
10. Murder Enhancements: In California, there are a number of allegations and enhancements which can be charged to increase the exposure of a person committed of murder. Some enhancements include the personal use of a gun during the murder, gang enhancement for committing a murder for the benefit of a gang, or being armed with a firearm during the murder. Some of these enhancements can be punished by up to life in prison.
Criminal defense attorney and former Riverside County prosecutor Gregory Rollins uses his unique experience and expertise to defend the rights of the accused, provide meaningful legal advice to his clients, and to fight for the best possible outcome for every client in every case. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, it is important to make sure that your rights (or those of your loved-one) are protected.
Contact criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor Gregory Rollins to set up a free consultation. Visit the website by clicking here.