There are many misunderstandings and myths concerning attempted murder charges in California. If you or a loved one is facing this charge then your next step is to contact a criminal defense attorney by calling Chambers Law Firm at 855-397-0210 for a free legal consultation. In the meantime, you can read on to get the basics of this charge.
The Definition of Attempted Murder
In California, attempted murder is defined as trying – but failing – to kill a person. There are two elements to the crime, both of which must be present. First, the defendant must have taken at least one direct (though ineffective) step toward killing someone. Second, the defendant must have intended to kill the person. For this law, a fetus is considered to be a person.
The Definition of a “Direct Step”
Some of these definitions can be confusing. For example, you may wonder: What does it mean to take a “direct step?” This is not as simple as planning – it involves actually doing something that puts the plan into motion. In short, this refers to a situation in which the murder would have happened except for the interference of an outside factor.
Examples of a direct step include stabbing someone in the neck, paying a hitman to kill someone, or shooting a gun at someone. On the other hand, examples of murder preparation that do not count as a direct step including buying a knife or gun, or searching the internet for a murder for hire.
Defense Options for Charges of Attempted Murder
There are many defense options against this charge, and the best option will depend on the specifics of your case. We may show that there was no intent to kill. In California, it is not attempted murder if you only meant to maim or scare the victim.
We may show that though some planning was done, there were no direct steps taken toward the crime. It may be that you were not involved at all and have been misidentified. Perhaps the prosecutor got it all wrong and you were simply acting in self-defense.
Potential Penalties for a Conviction of Attempted Murder
Attempted murder is always charged as a felony in California. There are two degrees of attempted murder. First-degree attempted murder means that there was premeditation and the sentence can include life in prison without the possibility of parole. A second-degree attempted murder charge can result in up to nine years in prison.
There can be additional sentencing enhancements. For example, if the alleged victim was an on-duty police officer, then the sentence will be increased. The best way to minimize your sentence – or fight the charges altogether – is to contact an attorney as soon as possible. You can reach Chambers Law Firm at 855-397-0210 now for a free legal consultation.