What Factors Can Enhance Or Aggravate A Murder Charge?
The factors that can enhance or aggravate a murder charge are the factors that you would think of. Anything that involves callous behavior on the part of the person that is being charged with murder obviously above and beyond what would be required of just a regular murder so to speak can enhance a murder charge. Obviously, killing a small child would be a horrible factor. Lying in wait is aggravating and the lying in wait can trigger the death penalty. Another thing that can trigger the death penalty as it relates to murder is if you have multiple murders; that is aggravating. If someone kills a witness it is a factor. Gang members are treated very harshly when it comes to murder. The prosecutors will consider anything that shocks the senses an aggravated murder.
If it is serious enough, prosecutors will not even negotiate with the defense attorney. They will just say, “Yes, the offer is 50 years, take it or leave it”, knowing that obviously no one is going to take that and the case ends up going to trial. When it comes to aggravated murders, it is something that has to be discussed with your attorney as to whether or not your particular case or your loved one’s case falls under the umbrella of an aggravated murder.
As far as manslaughter goes, one example of an aggravated manslaughter would be someone is drinking and driving and they end up killing someone. The charge can be filed as either manslaughter or second-degree murder. If someone becomes enraged over a situation and they take matters into their own hands and kill someone then that would be a voluntary manslaughter and would be something that they would consider aggravating. I have seen cases where people are racing down the highway at high speeds and someone loses control of the car and kills just an innocent bystander; that would be aggravating as far as a manslaughter type crime goes.
Can I Be Convicted Of Felony Murder If I Killed Someone In A DUI Accident In California?
The felony murder rule really does not apply if someone is killed in a DUI accident in California. Most times, DUIs are going to be filed as misdemeanors in California throughout Los Angeles County. In order for a DUI to be filed as a felony, it either has to be a fourth time DUI or someone has to have a prior felony conviction for a DUI and then their next DUI is a felony as well. If someone injures someone very seriously, they could be charged with a felony DUI. If someone is drinking and driving and they kill someone, they would be charged straight off with second-degree murder if the prosecutor feels that they could prove that the person knew that it was dangerous to human life to drink and drive and that a death could result.
In the past, prosecutors would try and prove that someone actually had a prior DUI and now there is a “Watson” warning given on a first-time DUI that says if you kill someone during a DUI, you are going to be charged with second-degree murder. The judges tell everyone who gets hit with the first, second or third time DUI about the Watson warning. They would use that to charge the person with second-degree murder who picked up the new DUI that killed somebody. The prosecutors are of the mind that people know in the society that it is dangerous to drink and drive and they can kill someone. If a person is drinking and driving and kills someone, they have a real high possibility of being charged with second-degree murder and looking at 15 to live.
Will I Be Able To Get A Bond Or Make Bail If I Am Charged With Murder Or Manslaughter?
For most crimes, a person is entitled to a bail even if the person is charged with murder or manslaughter. If it is a murder charge, typically it is a million dollar bail. If it is an attempted murder charge, it is usually a $500,000 bail. If there are any other enhancements that imply then that could cause the bail to be higher.
Most cases there is bail, but I can think of some examples where a person wouldn’t get bail. If a person is on felony probation for a serious charge and is charged with murder or attempted murder then the probation court could put a no-bail hold and the person would not be able to get out of jail. Any crimes that are prosecuted at the federal level will not let a person get bail. They will detain the person without any bail.
The prosecutors know that some people might be able to bail out even if they put a $500,000 or a million dollar bail and they put a bunch of extra enhancements. I have seen bails as high as $3 million, $5 million, and $8 million when it comes to murder cases, especially when you tack on gun enhancements and gang enhancements. Depending on the circumstances of what happened, the prosecutors can argue for what is called the Bail Deviation and go outside of what the standard bail would be and try and get the bail up as high as possible.
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