Under California Penal Code section 187, Watson Murder occurs when someone dies as a result of your driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In cases of Watson Murder, the prosecution can charge you with second-degree murder under California Penal Code section 187.
If you or someone you know is facing prosecution in Ventura for second-degree murder under the Watson Murder rule, you need to contact a Ventura Wallin & Klarich Watson Murder Defense Attorney immediately. The sentencing and punishment for a Watson Murder in Ventura can be severe but seeking legal representation early on in your case can ensure you the best possible result.
Watson Murder Prosecution
To charge you for second-degree murder under the Watson Murder rule, the prosecutor must prove the following:
- You committed an act that caused the death of another person
- When you acted, you had a state of mind called malice aforethought; AND
- You killed without lawful justification
To convict you for Watson Murder, the prosecution must establish causation. Your act does not need to be the direct cause of death. As long as your act is a substantial factor in causing the death, the causation requirement is met and you could be convicted of second degree-murder under the Watson Murder rule.
For a Watson Murder conviction, the prosecution must also show you had the required mental state that must be formed before the act that causes death is committed. There are two kinds of malice aforethought, express malice and implied malice. For a Watson Murder charge, the prosecution typically attempts to demonstrate that you exhibited implied malice by proving the following:
- You intentionally committed an act
- The natural and probable consequences of the act were dangerous to human life
- At the time you acted, you knew this act was dangerous to human life; AND
- You deliberately acted with conscious disregard for human life
To be successful in a Watson Murder prosecution against you, the District Attorney must show that you intentionally committed an act that would likely result in harm to another human being. This requirement is usually met if you voluntarily drive a vehicle while intoxicated. The reasoning is that driving while under the influence of either drugs or alcohol poses a substantial risk of harm to both passengers in your own vehicle as well as other drivers sharing the same road.
However, the prosecution will want to establish that you had specific prior knowledge that driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs was dangerous to human life. The way that this is normally accomplished is to show the jury that you were convicted of a prior DUI and at the time of your prior DUI conviction you signed a document acknowledging that you knew that driving under the influence was dangerous to human life.
Watson Murder Defense Attorney in Ventura
If you are facing Watson Murder charges in Ventura, you need to contact an experienced Ventura Watson Murder Defense Attorney who is dedicated to giving you the best representation possible. With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, and Sherman Oaks, Wallin & Klarich has successfully represented clients facing prosecution for second-degree Watson Murder for over 30 years. Drawing from extensive experience, our talented Watson Murder Defense Attorney will carefully review your case and develop an effective defense strategy for your case. Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245. We will be there when you call.