Attempted Murder Lawyers
Elements of Attempted Murder
- Deliberate or reckless behavior with extreme disregard for human life
- An intention to actually kill someone
- Substantial evidence that considerable steps were made to commit murder
Following these general guidelines, pointing a gun at someone wouldn’t constitute attempted murder but firing the gun, even if you don’t hit them, would probably be attempted murder. Attempted murder can also be charged for trying to hit someone with your car or profoundly wounding someone and leaving them for dead so long as your intent was murder.
Degrees of Attempted Murder
Like murder, attempted murder can be separated in seriousness and penalties based upon certain factors. These factors are:
- First Degree: the defendant planned to kill the victim or was lying in wait for the victim. Attempted murder on a police officer will also be first degree, regardless of planning.
- Second Degree: the defendant didn’t plan on killing the victim. This typically includes attempted killings during a “heat of passion” or attempted killings while acting in a way which is seriously careless or negligent.
Attempted Murder Sentencing
Sentences for attempted murder vary from state to state but extenuating circumstances can extend the length of a sentence exponentially. Normal sentences for attempted murder can rage from 5 to 30 years; however, there are oftentimes accompanying charges and circumstances that tie into attempted murder like felonious assault, illegal gun possession, and the severity of the attack. Under the Criminal Attempts Act of 1981, attempted murder is an indictable offense which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Life imprison for attempted murder is not unheard of like the Maryland case against Carlos Ovalle.
Possible Defenses to Attempted Murder
Since attempted murder is a type of homicide charge, the defenses to a homicide charge will often work in an attempted murder charge. If those defenses aren’t satisfying, the attempted murder charge can be disproven by negating any of the elements required for proving an attempted murder:
- The defendant didn’t have the intent to kill. Since the prosecution must show that the defendant wanted to kill the victim at a specific period of time, this will be the hardest element for any prosecutor to prove.
- The defendant didn’t take all the steps necessary to accomplish the murder. This can be just as much of a challenge for a prosecutor to prove as intention, as this element requires that the prosecutor prove that the defendant tried and failed to do something.
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Last Modified: 09-19-2012 02:13 PM PDT
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