In some states, it is illegal to attempt to kill yourself, but not in California, though it may result in your being confined to a behavioral health facility if you are determined to be a threat to yourself. However, while it is not against the law to commit suicide in California, an attempt that results in the death or injury of someone else is a crime. One woman recently found that out when she was charged with murder after a failed attempt to take her own life. Here’s what a San Diego criminal lawyer has to say about the unfortunate case.
The Facts of This Murder Charge
Grace Ward is a 28 year-old woman who tried to take her own life by driving the wrong way on the 5 interstate back in January. She didn’t end up dying though and instead, the resulting crash killed 29 year-old Ryan Folsom. After her release from the hospital, Ward discovered that she was immediately in need of a San Diego homicide defense attorney as she is now facing second-degree murder charges as well as three counts of attempted murder and three counts of assault with a deadly weapon for the three other cars she almost hit, and a count of felony vandalism for the freeway median she damaged.
Potential Penalties for Murder
Ward’s actions were absolutely reckless and selfish, but it will be up to a jury to decide if they were in fact murderous or if they merely resulted in a homicide unless the prosecution and her San Diego violent crimes defense lawyer make a plea bargain. If found guilty of the more serious charges, she could face life imprisonment -a pretty hefty penalty for anyone, let alone someone who was already suicidal.
More About California Suicide Laws
It’s worth noting that while attempting to commit suicide in a way that doesn’t endanger someone else’s life is legal, but that aiding, advising or encouraging someone else to kill themselves is a crime. It is legal to assist someone in their suicide, but only in very limited cases, which is why you should always consult an attorney if you would like to help a loved one end his or her life in peace. Generally speaking, California’s assisted suicide law requires drugs to be prescribed by a physician and not assisted by anyone with a financial benefit in the death.
If you have any questions about the legality of suicide or aiding someone with their suicide, San Diego homicide attorney Peter M. Liss can help. Please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your situation.
Creative Commons image by Pete