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What is the max sentence for 1st degree murder in Clifornia?

Sacramento, CA |

My boyfriend is being charge with 1st degree murder, can it be drop to manslaughter? What is his chancing of getting a lesser sentences? Help!!

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Attorney answers 4


Death is the maximum sentence. You need to provide facts before the other questions can be answered.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.


The death penalty of course. It can be dropped to voluntary manslaughter if it was done in the heat of passion/sudden quarrel or in imperfect self-defense. Involuntary manslaughter is a much lesser crime but still of course serious. I would be surprised to see 1st degree dropped to invol.


Mr. Fink is incorrect.

First degree murder is punishable by 25-life in state prison. There can be additional time based on the use of a weapon (for example if a firearm was used, it can add 25-life on top of it, making the exposure 50 to life).

It is only punishable by the death penalty if there are special circumstances alleged and proven - even then the DA has to seek the death penalty, otherwise it's life in prison without the possibility of parole (LWOP).

Can it be dropped to manslaughter? Yes - depending on the facts. Will he get that as a plea offer? I don't know. Manslaughter is a lesser offense to murder and depending on the facts of the case, it may be presented to the jury as a lesser offense.

The bottom line is that your boyfriend needs the best criminal defense attorney you can get. He's looking at potentially the rest of his life in prison.


Mr Dane is correct that you can't get the death penalty for murder one unless special circumstances are proven and pled by the DA and a jury imposes it after a penalty phase. In my opinion that does not make my opinion of Mr. Fink's incorrect.