Being charged with first-degree murder could have severe consequences. If found guilty, the defendant could spend his or her entire life in prison. Some states allow the death penalty while others do not. The exact sentence for someone charged with first-degree murder depends on the state. Capital punishment is a legal penalty in California, and anyone found guilty of first-degree murder could be sentenced to death. Defending someone accused of first-degree murder is a complicated process. It requires a lot of preparation and strategic planning.
An attorney could argue that the defendant did not commit the crime. This usually involves coming up with an alibi for the defendant, which proves they were not present at the scene of the crime. The attorney may argue mistaken identity and bring forward alternative suspects who could have committed the crime.
An alternative strategy would be to argue that the murder committed was not first-degree. This puts the onus on the defendant to bring forward proof that the accused had the motive to murder the victim. The prosecution might not be able to produce enough evidence to prove that the victim was deliberately killed. In that case, the judge could reduce the charge.
The legal justification for the homicide may also be introduced in court. Self-defense or defense of another person is one of the most common justifications used. The defense attorney must prove that there was a significant chance of death or bodily harm had the defendant not committed the murder.
Being charged with first-degree murder may have harsh ramifications in the future. You might want to involve an experienced attorney as soon as possible. The attorney will oversee your case and try to devise a strong defense strategy for you.