Under California law, capital murder can be the most severe charge you could possibly face. Capital murder is defined as first-degree murder accompanied by special circumstances. In other words, it is a form of first-degree murder that has been elevated to capital murder due to certain factors in the case. What separates capital murder from first-degree murder are the punishments capital murder charges carry. If you are found guilty, you could be facing execution by means of lethal gas or lethal injection, or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
California’s Penal Code 190.2 outlines more than 20 of these “special circumstances” which constitute a first-degree murder charge being heightened to a capital murder charge instead. This code looks at everything from the method in which the victim was killed, the ways in which the murder was carried out, what was used in the commission of the murder, what the purpose or intention was behind the killing, and what the background of the defendant was.
Specifically, some examples of these special circumstances include murdering someone for financial gain, being previously convicted of first or second degree murder, committing the murder with the use of a destructive device, bombs, or explosives, if the killing was especially heinous and cruel, if the victim was a federal law enforcement officer, firefighter, or judge, and if the victim was killed to prevent them from testifying to a crime.
If you find yourself being charged with capital murder, the first thing you need to do is seek legal counsel immediately. This is not an offense you want to take lightly since execution or life without parole are both possible punishments that may await you if convicted. Because capital murder is based around these multitude of special circumstances, it can be a very complicated case. You’ll need an attorney who has experience in this area of the law and has dealt with capital murder cases before. They’ll be able to understand the severe nature of the charges you are facing and help you come up with a plan of action.
The Law Office of Michael Guisti can assist you in these serious matters. We have spent over a decade defending clients in capital murder cases and have successfully gotten these charges either reduced or dismissed altogether. Do not hesitate when it comes to a capital murder charge. We are here to help, so give us a call right away and we can begin discussing your options and the defense strategies we have used in past cases that have proven effective for our clients. Contact us today at (888) 478-8999.