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What is murder with ‘malice aforethought’?

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2021 | Firm News |

One of the most serious crimes a person in Newport Beach can be accused of committing is first-degree murder. It is important to understand what constitutes first-degree murder, so you can make informed decisions should you be charged with committing such a crime.

Malice aforethought

Under California law, a person commits the crime of murder with they kill someone with “malice aforethought.” Malice in such circumstances means the alleged perpetrator deliberately intends to kill someone. Malice can be express or implied. Malice is implied if there is no considerable provocation or if the killing is due to an “abandoned and malignant” heart. Simply participating in a crime is not always enough to impute malice aforethought on a person. Murder with malice aforethought is considered murder in the first degree.

Other types of murder

Murders through the use of destructive devices or weapons of mass destruction, murders through the knowing use of a firearm made to penetrate armor, murders using poison, murders committed by lying in wait or through torture or any other type of murder that is willful, deliberate or premeditated or murder that is made in the course of committing certain other crimes are also considered first-degree murder. Any other murder crimes are considered second-degree murder.

Felony crimes have serious consequences

Felony crimes like murder have serious consequences. It is important for anyone charged with murder to seek the assistance they need to develop a strong defense strategy that can lead to a reduction in charges or even an acquittal.