The definition for attempted murder occurs when an individual has an actual intent to carry out a murder or killing of another and takes a substantial step toward the commission of that the killing. The crime of attempted murder will be committed even though the actual killing did not occurred and the defendant failed to complete the crime. Some states will charge a defendant for attempted murder even if the defendant had the intent to commit the murder and started preparation to commit the crime.
Because attempt crimes are always incomplete because the actual crime falls short, establishing intent that the person had the mindset of completing the intended crime is the main element to secure a conviction.
Attempted murder is a very serious criminal charge. To be convicted of attempted murder, prosecutors must be able to prove:
Following these general guidelines, pointing a gun at someone would not constitute attempted murder but firing the gun, even if you do not 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.
Like murder, attempted murder can be separated in seriousness and penalties based upon certain factors. These factors are:
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.
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 main element that has to be negated is the defendant's mindset and intent. If the defendant only intended to commit harm or serious harm, but never had the specific intent to kill, then the defendant will not be convicted of attempted murder unless the person actually dies from defendant's reckless act.
Systems of gradation vary from one state to the next but if you are charged with attempted murder than you should immediately consult a criminal lawyer who is familiar with your state and county laws and court procedures.
Last Modified: 03-04-2018 11:16 PM PSTLaw Library Disclaimer
We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.