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. The Simmrin Law Group 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 else 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:
- Intend to Carry Out a Criminal Act.
- Fail 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 both of these situations:
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 attempt to murder a:
- 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 of time in prison. Note that, for both attempted first- and second-degree murder, individuals may face fines and restitution payments to the intended victim.
Focusing on Legal Defenses for Attempted Murder Charges
As you can see, even a charge for attempted murder in California can have serious repercussions. Get help handling these serious charges by contacting a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer as soon as you are accused of attempted murder. Your lawyer may be able to show that:
You Did Not Intend to Kill Anyone
Many of the defenses for attempted murder match up to the defenses for a murder accusation. 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 for 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
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 wellbeing, 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 in the courtroom.
Call a Legal Professional to Handle Attempted Murder Charges
Make sure you’re ready to take on California Penal Code Section 664/187: Attempted Murder charges by getting professional help. The Simmrin Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles can start building your defense now. Get a FREE initial case evaluation to find out how we can help.