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Murder Defense Attorney in Modesto, California

In California, murder – the illegal killing of a human being without any justification – is prohibited and could attract devastating punishment. An alleged defendant convicted of murder could be facing harsher penalties, including massive fines, life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, a permanent criminal record, and other life-altering ramifications. The thought of never seeing the outside of prison walls again can make you feel overwhelmed and petrified.

If you are under investigation for murder, you must hire a skilled California criminal defense attorney to help build your defense strategy. At Roth Legal, A Professional Law Corporation, Attorney Ryan Roth provides comprehensive legal guidance and aggressive representation to clients facing murder charges. As your legal counsel, he will seek to defend your legal rights, refute the allegations against you with factual evidence, and help you get fair treatment at every stage of the legal proceedings.

Roth Legal, A Professional Law Corporation, proudly represents clients in Modesto, Stockton, Manteca, Merced, and throughout California.

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Murder Charges in California

Under California Penal Code Section 187 PC, murder is defined as "the unlawful killing of a human being, or fetus, with malice aforethought." To prove murder, the prosecutor must show that the defendant is implying or expressing malice towards the victim.

Implied Malice – The alleged defendant acting in an extremely reckless manner or with wanton disregard (without care) for human life.

Expressed Malice – The defendant deliberately or knowingly intended to commit the murder or kill the person.

Types of Murder in California

According to California law, murder may be categorized into any of the following, depending on the surrounding circumstances:

First-Degree Murder

First-degree murder is a deliberate killing done with premeditated malice or malice aforethought. A defendant may be facing first-degree murder charges under the following circumstances:

  • While using an explosive, destructive weapon, poison, weapon of mass destruction, or metal piercing ammunition

  • While inflicting torture on the victim

  • By a deliberate, intentional, and premeditated killing

  • By lying in wait

  • Capital murder – killing more than one victim, killing for financial gain, killing a police officer or witness.

  • Felony murder – killing another person while committing a felony offense, such as arson, robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, mayhem, torture, rape, or burglary.

Second-Degree Murder

Second-degree murder is any murder that is not first-degree murder. According to California Penal Code Section 187 PC, second-degree murder is the willful killing of another person, but not deliberate or premeditated.

For example, killing a person after shooting a gun into a crowded space. Though the shooter (defendant) did not intend to kill the particular person; however, the victim died due to the gunshot.


Under California law, manslaughter involves the illegal killing of a human being without any malice. There are three types of manslaughter, including:

Involuntary Manslaughter: A person commits involuntary manslaughter for killing another person without any intent to kill, without malice, and without conscious disregard for human life (California Penal Code 192(b) PC).

Voluntary Manslaughter: A person commits voluntary manslaughter for killing another person during a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion (California Penal Code 192 PC).

Vehicular Manslaughter: A person commits vehicular manslaughter when they cause another person's death after driving unlawfully or negligently (California Penal Code 192(c) PC). This may be charged as a "wobbler."

Attempted Murder

Under California law – California Penal Code 664/187(a) PC – attempted murder occurs when the alleged defendant intends to kill another person, takes a direct step towards executing the act, but the intended victim doesn't die.

Possible Penalties

When sentencing an offender facing murder allegations, California laws recognize various degrees of culpability. If convicted of murder, the possible penalties will correspond with the degree of murder charges you are facing.

  • For instance, if you are facing first-degree murder charges, life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or probation is possible.

  • Conversely, if you are facing second-degree murder charges, you may be punished with life in prison with eligibility for parole after serving a certain minimum of time imprisonment.

  • In most cases, manslaughter is punishable by several years imprisonment.

An aggressive murder defense attorney can investigate the surrounding facts of your unique situation and strategize an effective defense to help fight your charges and avoid or mitigate the potential consequences of a criminal conviction.

Possible Defenses

When facing murder charges in California, your legal counsel may use any of the following defenses to fight your charges:

  • Accident or misfortune

  • Resisting an attempt to commit a felony or murder any person.

  • An attempt to uphold the law

  • Heat of passion

  • Defense of a person in imminent danger

  • Defense of habitation, property, or person

A knowledgeable California criminal defense lawyer can attempt to defend your legal rights and help maximize your chances of the most favorable outcome for your unique situation.

Work With a Highly-Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney

Being arrested or indicted with murder could jeopardize your personal reputation, quality of life, liberty, future, and professional opportunities. Unfortunately, trying to defend your murder allegations without reliable representation can increase your possibility of getting convicted and suffering the maximum punishments. Therefore, when facing murder charges, retaining a highly-skilled and aggressive criminal defense attorney is imperative for proper guidance.

Attorney Ryan Roth has devoted his career to handling criminal cases and defending clients who have been wrongfully accused of committing murder. As your legal counsel, he can review and investigate all of the facts of your case thoroughly and outline an effective defense strategy to help fight your charges. Using his in-depth legal understanding, Attorney Ryan Roth will help you navigate the California criminal justice system and represent you vigorously at every phase of the legal process.

Murder Defense Attorney Serving Modesto, California

Facing murder charges can be terrifying. That is why you should never face them alone. Contact Roth Legal, A Professional Law Corporation, today for a simple case assessment. Attorney Ryan Roth has the knowledgeable legal counsel, strong advocacy, and aggressive representation you need to fight your murder accusations. The firm is proud to serve clients across Modesto, Stockton, Manteca, Merced, and throughout California.