If you have been charged with first degree murder in the state of California, your future, your freedom, your everything hangs in the balance. You need to mount the strongest possible defense, and this requires the dedication of a skilled California criminal defense attorney. In order to convict you, the state will have to prove every element of the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt. The purpose of this article is to explain the elements of the charge of first degree murder in the state of California.
First Degree Murder is a Statutorily Created Crime
First degree murder is a criminal charge created by statute – a version of the more general charge of murder. The crime of murder dates back to the common law era in England and is defined as the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought. First degree murder adds the elements of premeditation and deliberation to the longstanding definition of murder. So then, first degree murder is a statutorily created crime in the state of California and is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought, premeditation, and deliberation. Again, to convict, the state must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.