Defense of Attempted Murder

There are very few crimes in California that carry such a high penalty as being charged with attempted murder. Individuals who assault another person with the intent to murder will be found guilty of this offense. These criminal charges are covered under PC 664/187(A) and require an excellent criminal defense attorney with in-depth experience dealing with these cases.


The punishment for attempted murder includes a prison sentence of any number of years to life.


Given the severity of the alleged crime and the consequences it entails, prosecutors are required to prove certain elements for the defendant to be found guilty of attempted murder. These elements include:


  • Proving that the defendant attempted to harm the individual physically
  • The defendant had the ability to inflict injury or believed that they could cause injury upon committing the assault
  • The defendant intended to kill the individual they assaulted.


Prosecutors are required to prove that the defendant blatantly engaged in an action, such as shooting at someone, driving a knife into someone, or hiring someone to assassinate someone. The scope of attempted murder varies greatly with each case. Incidents may include stalking, breaking into a property or procuring a weapon and then threatening a potential victim.


In other words, prosecutors are required to prove that the purpose of the alleged act was attempted murder. The defending team will have to use facts and figures to refute their allegations.


If you are accused of firing at someone, even if the victim was seriously injured, you could evade the charge if you can prove you had no intentions to kill them. Similarly, if you abandoned the attempt to commit murder or acted in self-defense, you should not be convicted.

Defending against an Attempted Murder Charge in California

There are several lines of defense that attorneys can take to fight an attempted murder charge. A common defense is arguing that the defendant didn’t commit the crime and it’s a case of mistaken identity or the wrong person is being charged. Defendants can also argue they are not guilty of attempted murder because the prosecutor failed to prove one or more specific aspects of the crime.


An experienced California criminal defense attorney has the insight and tools needed to take stock of the circumstances surrounding the crime and build an impenetrable defense. It is important to ensure the attorney you hire is fully capable and qualified to defend the serious and complex nature of this charge.

Common Defenses Against Attempted Murder Charges in California

A common defense against attempted murder cases is that of ‘intoxication or diminished capacity.’ This implies that the defendant was so drunk or intoxicated that they could not form an intent to kill. In other words, they could not think straight and rationalize their decision to kill another person.


Proving this requires evidence such as witnesses to corroborate that the defendant was indeed engaged in acts that could affect their judgment.


Another commonly used defense against attempted murder cases is self-defense. California has self-defense laws that allow a person to use reasonable force to defend against violence. It takes a skilled attorney to prove that the defendant only used the amount of force necessary to defend against the immediate danger but had no further intent to kill the perpetrator.


Finally, another commonly used defense is that of false accusation. Some people can argue they were wrongfully arrested and accused of the charge. This will require the defense team to build a strong argument to refute the false charges and do everything to build a strong case – because the defendant’s life is at stake.

Are You Looking for a Criminal Defense Lawyer in California?

If you are facing attempted murder charges, you need to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney at the earliest. Do not talk to the police – even if you know you are completely innocent and have nothing to do with the crime. Your words could later be used to chip away at your defense. Talk to your lawyer – talk to us!


Please contact us online or call Justice Firm to schedule your free consultation.

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