As you already know, you could spend years to life in prison for actual murder of another person. But what happens if you only attempted murder? Attempted murder is the incomplete, unsuccessful act of killing someone – which means that you planned to murder them, but did not follow through. It is a serious criminal offense and, as such, you should not expect lenience from the criminal justice system if you actually attempted murder. However, you should know that you could receive a dismissal of charges or a lesser offense depending on the circumstances and what you can prove in court.
There are two elements in an attempted murder charge which include: taking action toward killing another person, and intending to actually kill someone.
It is a direct step to intend to kill someone. If you prepared to kill someone but never followed through, this will not be sufficient enough to prove an attempted murder charge. A direct act, on the other hand, includes using a weapon against somebody, or inflicting serious wounds into someone with the intent to kill. It also includes setting up a hit, where you have another person kill someone. Perhaps you even went as far as to write down plans to kill someone with a bomb, and then bought the makings of the bomb – this could be seen as an attempt.
Intent to Kill
Causing somebody bodily harm is not enough to prove attempted murder. There has to be actual intent to kill that person. For instance, if you stabbed someone in the arm in the midst of a fight, this may not be seen as an attempt; however, it could include shooting somebody in the chest because you intended for them to die.
Penalties for Attempted Murder
As you can see, it is sometimes difficult for the prosecutor to show that you actually intended to murder another person. However, if the elements are met in your case and it is proven, you could sustain very serious penalties. First-degree murder charges (premeditation) will carry harsher penalties than second-degree (not planned). You could see anywhere from 10 years in prison to life. In second-degree cases, you could see around 5 to 15 years in prison. Either way, receiving these penalties could put a stop to your everyday plans and cause chaos in your life – which is why it is important to speak to a criminal defense attorney as soon as you know you are facing charges. Call us today to speak with us about your case and what to expect.