Legal Dictionary

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Suicide

Suicide is the act of taking one's own life. In California, suicide is not a crime. However, aiding, advising, encouraging, or assisting another to commit suicide is a felony, punishable from 16 months to three years in the state prison. California Penal Code section 401.

A person cannot be convicted of assisting in a suicide unless the victim dies, but a defendant can be convicted of an attempt to assist suicide. In California, aiding is defined as providing what is useful or necessary in achieving an end, such as providing a weapon or a poison to a person, knowing that the person will commit suicide. Advising or encouraging is defined in the law as giving verbal help or assistance or providing the means, knowing that it will be used to commit suicide.