Attempted murder in violation of Penal Code 664/187, takes place under
a wide variety of circumstances, ranging from gang shootings to bar fights
to situations where someone hires a hit man.
If you're charged with this crime in California, you could face years-long
prison sentences, including life in prison if your actions were premeditated.
To convict you of attempted murder, prosecutors will need to show that
you not only took steps towards killing someone, but that you intended
for them to die.
In regards to the second point - how would prosecutors prove intent to kill?
This isn't always straightforward. For example, maybe you lashed out
at another person without intending to kill them; maybe you meant to injure
them, but without causing their death. This could be the case even if
you were wielding a potentially deadly weapon, such as a knife.
You might also have wanted to only scare or threaten the victim (such as
by firing a gun in their general direction), but your actions got misinterpreted
as an attempt at murder.
(Threatening people or intending to cause them injury can also lead to
criminal charges, though generally with less severe penalties than attempted murder.)
One important point to keep in mind is that “intent to kill”
doesn't have to apply to a specific individual. For example, if you
fire a gun into a crowd of people, you may not have any specific victim
in mind, but you could still face attempted murder charges. Prosecutors
have to show that you intended to kill someone (anyone or multiple people)
from that crowd. A
recent example involves several young adults and juveniles who are now facing criminal
charges, including attempted murder, for allegedly firing shots at party-goers.
In trying to show intent, prosecutors will look at a number of factors,
including the following:
- Whether you made any threats or plans specifically involving murder.
- How easily your actions could have resulted in someone's death (for
example, slashing someone on the arm vs. stabbing them repeatedly in the chest).
- Your choice of weapon; for example, while punching someone in the face
could in some circumstances result in death, the use of a gun increases
the chances of the victim dying.
It's critical that you
contact an experienced and dedicated attorney to fight attempted murder charges.
If you live in the Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Wildomar, Menifee,
Hemet, Perris, Banning, Corona or Riverside areas, reach out to us for
powerful legal representation. We can help!