Taking any step to kill another person in California can be harshly punished. Even if an individual is unsuccessful in their attempt to commit murder, they can face serious criminal charges under California Penal Code Section 664/187: Attempted Murder.
Use this article to learn more about the legal definition of attempted murder. Our firm can also help you go over the:
- Penalties for attempted murder
- Legal defenses for attempted murder
Defining PC 187: Murder
California uses PC 187 to prosecute acts of murder. According to this legal code, individuals commit murder if they unlawfully kill another human being or a fetus. Individuals must act with malice aforethought to be convicted of murder.
Malice aforethought means that they acted with the intention to kill another person. This means that accidental deaths are not covered under PC 187. Murder charges can be divided into:
First-degree murder charges are used if someone premediates the murder of another person. Planning out how a murder will be carried out can lead to first-degree murder charges. First-degree murder is generally treated more seriously than second-degree murder.
Individuals can be charged with second-degree murder if they intentionally kill someone without planning it out beforehand.
Reviewing PC 664: Attempted Crimes
If an individual attempts to commit murder and does not succeed, they can be sentenced under PC 664. According to PC 664, individuals attempt a crime if they:
- Intended to carry out a criminal act
- Failed to carry out the crime, are stopped, or are intercepted during the perpetration of the crime
PC 664 charges can be applied if someone attempts to commit murder and does not succeed.
Considering the Penalties for Attempted Murder
The results of a conviction for attempted murder can depend upon whether an individual tried to carry out first- or second-degree murder. Let’s go over the results of a conviction in each of these situations and others:
Attempted First-Degree Murder
Individuals convicted of attempted first-degree murder may face life in prison with the possibility of parole. Individuals will have to serve at least 15 years in prison before they can be eligible for parole if they attempted to murder a/an:
- Peace officer
- Other protected person carrying out legal duties
Attempted Second-Degree Murder
A conviction for attempted second-degree murder can lead to up to nine years in prison. For both first- and second-degree attempted murder, individuals may face fines and restitution payments to the intended victim.
Attempted Murder With a Firearm
There are additional penalties for attempted murder with a gun. A defendant could face a decade in prison for using a gun, two decades for firing a gun, or 25 years to life for killing someone with a gun or for causing great bodily injury to someone while using a gun.
Attempted Murder and Multiple Strikes
According to California’s Three-Strikes Law, attempted murder is a violent felony, and a conviction would be a strike on the defendant’s criminal record. Another strike would carry a double sentence, and a third strike would carry a sentence of 25 years to life in state prison.
Focusing on Legal Defenses for Attempted Murder Charges
Even a charge of attempted murder in California can have serious repercussions. Get help handling a serious charge as soon as you are accused of attempted murder. A Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer from our firm can help. Your lawyer may be able to show that:
You did Not Intend to Kill Anyone
Many of the defenses for attempted murder match the defenses for murder accusations. The first defense involves proving that you had no intent to kill anyone. If you carried out a violent action just to scare someone, for example, you could avoid a conviction of attempted murder.
You did Not Take Any Steps to Murder Someone
Individuals in California have to take direct action to be convicted of attempted murder. This means that you should not be convicted under PC 664 if you only made plans to kill someone. You actually have to act in a way that threatens someone’s life in order to attempt murder.
You Were Only Trying to Defend Yourself or Another
The state of California allows you to behave in a violent way if it is necessary to protect yourself or someone else from a great bodily injury or death. Therefore, you are not guilty of murder in CA for killing someone in self-defense. If you took steps to defend your physical well-being, you should not be prosecuted under PC 664 or 187.
Your Actions Were Accidental
Sometimes, individuals put another person’s life in jeopardy by accident. If you caused an event that threatened the well-being of another individual accidentally, your defense lawyer could be able to protect you from a murder conviction in the courtroom.
You Were Falsely Accused
A possible defense in any criminal case, including attempted murder, is that the defendant was falsely accused of the crime. Your attempted murder defense attorney could argue the accuser is lying if there’s a motivation for them to lie and incriminate you.
Building Your Case Against an Attempted Murder Charge in California
One of our firm’s attempted murder defense attorneys can build your case for you to defend you against your charge. Your case could lead to your charge being dropped or reduced (for example, to a manslaughter charge, which has lighter penalties). To build your case, your attorney can:
- Investigate your charges: Your attorney will be looking for evidence of your charge and evidence of your innocence, which may include the police report, witness cell phone camera footage or pictures, witness testimony, text conversations, or even forensic evidence. Additionally, your attorney will review the prosecution’s case against you for its legitimacy.
- Look for issues regarding the prosecution’s evidence: The prosecution might not have sufficient evidence against you. For example, there may not be enough evidence for a case or convincing enough evidence for a sound case.
- Look for issues regarding your arrest: Your arrest may not have been lawful. For instance, you may have been assaulted during your arrest, or evidence may have been collected illegitimately. If so, this could be used in your defense.
- Consider all your options: Negotiating with the prosecutor or the judge may be a sound option in your case. For instance, your attorney could negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor or negotiate for reduced charges with the judge.
About Your New California Attempted Murder Defense Attorney
Our firm’s criminal defense lawyers have been fighting criminal charges for decades. We fight hard for the dismissal or acquittal of our clients’ charges and won’t hesitate to take a case to court. When necessary, we fight just as hard for a reduction in charges. Regardless, we always push for the best possible outcome for our clients.
Attorney Michael Simmrin is our firm’s owner and lead attorney. He has a great deal of experience with jury trials, including ones involving accusations of attempted murder. He has also successfully represented thousands of clients. He and his team will do everything they can to resolve your case successfully.
Call a Legal Professional to Handle Attempted Murder Charges in California
Our firm can help you take on California Penal Code Section 664/187: Attempted Murder charges. One of Simmrin Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles can get to work on your defense now. Get a FREE consultation to find out how we can help.
You can easily reach us through our online contact form or by calling us.