Attempted Murder Law in California – Penal Code Section 664/187 PC

California penal code sections 664/187(a) PC makes it unlawful for a person to attempt to murder another person. Any person who takes steps to kill another person and the victim does not die is guilty of attempted murder. Just like there is first-degree murder and second-degree murder, we also have first degree attempted murder and second-degree attempted murder.

First-degree attempted murder is a premeditated and willful attempt to kill another person and the victim does not die. Second degree attempted murder refers to all other attempted murders.

If you have been charged with attempted murder in Los Angeles or elsewhere in the State of California under California Penal Code Section 664 PC and 187 PC, you should contact an experienced murder defense attorney to represent you and keep you from going to prison for a very long period of time.

The murder defense attorneys at The H Law Group have the knowledge and experience to achieve the best results for you. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.

Text of California Penal Code 187 PC and California Penal Code 664 PC

According to California Penal Code Section 187 PC, “Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.” According to California Penal Code Section 664 PC, “Every person who attempts to commit any crime, but fails, or is prevented or intercepted in its perpetration, shall be punished where no provision is made by law for the punishment of those attempts.”

These two criminal statutes read in conjunction with one another make it unlawful for an individual to attempt to commit murder. For example, if a person wants to kill another person and takes a shot at him but misses, he can be charged with attempted murder because he took a direct step towards the commission of murder failed to kill his victim.

If you have been charged with attempted murder, you should keep in mind that it’s considered to be a violent crime that carries a long prison sentence.

So, for the best possible outcome, you should promptly contact a murder defense attorney at The H Law Group to defend you and keep you from going to prison for a very long period of time. Our murder defense attorneys have the knowledge and experience necessary to achieve the best possible results for you.

What Must the Prosecution Show to Convict a Person of Attempted Murder?

For the prosecution to convict a person of attempted murder, it must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution fails to prove even one element, it cannot convict the defendant of attempt murder. The prosecution must prove the following elements:

  • The defendant took a direct step to kill another person
  • The defendant failed to kill another person
  • The defendant had the intent to kill his victim

Note: For the purposes of attempted murder, a fetus is considered to be a person. The direct step means that the person did something to attempt to kill another person that goes beyond just planning to kill. Intent to kill requirement means that the defendant had the intent to actually kill another person and not merely injure another person.

Examples of Attempted Murder

A man and his business partner are always fighting about finances. So, the man decides to kill his business partner, so he adds poison to his partner’s burger. The partner eats the burger, becomes very ill, but survives. The man can be charged with and convicted of attempted murder.

A man goes out drinking with some of his friends. The man gets kicked out of the bar for getting into a fight. He later stabs an innocent man in the chest intending to kill him. The man does not die. The defendant can be charged with and convicted of attempted murder.

A man finds out that his wife is cheating on him. Two days later, the man wants to teach his wife’s lover a lesson, so he takes a baton and proceeds to repeatedly hit the man, causing him internal and external bleeding. It is unlikely that the prosecution may not be able to convict the man of attempted murder unless it can show that he intended to kill his wife’s lover.

Penalties for Attempting to Murder Another Person

If the prosecution convicts a person of attempted murder, the penalties are different depending on whether you were charged with first degree attempted murder or second-degree attempted murder.

If the defendant acted with premeditation and deliberation, he will likely be charged with attempted first-degree murder. If convicted, he faces life in California State Prison with the possibility of being released on parole.

Second degree attempted murder refers to all other attempted murders that are not first-degree murders. If the defendant is convicted of second-degree murder, he faces five, seven, or years in California State Prison.

In addition to prison time, a person charged with either attempted first-degree murder or attempted second-degree murder can be ordered to pay restitution to the victim(s), and fined up to $10,000.

If the defendant is convicted, he will also lose his right to own a firearm for life.

Defenses to Attempted Murder Charges

If a person is charged with attempted murder, there are a number of defenses that his attorney may make to defend him. Here are some of the most commonly used attempted murder defenses:

  • Self Defense – An attorney may be able to argue that even though the defendant intended to kill another person and took a direct step to do so, he should not be convicted of attempted murder because he was acting in self-defense or the defense of others. In California, a person who believes that his life or the life of another person is at risk, the defendant is permitted to use reasonable force (kill) the perpetrator to avoid being killed by him.
  • No specific intent to kill – for the prosecution to convict an individual, it must show that the defendant had the intent to kill his victim but failed to do so. So, an attorney who can show that the defendant did not have the intent to kill, will be able to have the attempted murder charges against his client dismissed.
  • No Direct Step – Even if the defendant had the intent to kill, an attorney can have the charges against his client dismissed by showing that even though the defendant intended to kill another person, the defendant did not take a direct step to kill another person. For example, if the defendant intended to kill another person and buys weapons and bullets but fails to do anything more, the defendant cannot be convicted of attempted murder.
  • False Identity – An attorney may argue that the defendant is a victim of mistaken identity, that is, that the defendant is not the person identified as attempting to murder another person

California’s Three Strike’s Law

In California, any person who is convicted of a violent crime gets a strike added to his criminal record. In the State of California, attempted murder is considered to be a violent crime that warrants the addition of a strike to a person’s criminal record. A strike adds additional punishments to the current conviction, as well as future convictions of crimes. For example, if an individual is convicted of rape after he has been convicted of attempted murder, the three strike’s law mandates that he receive double the time for the rape conviction. So, if you have been charged with attempted murder, you should immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you and mitigate the potential consequences that you face.

Immigration Consequences

Being convicted of attempted murder will cause an individual to face immigration consequences, such as being deported, being denied admission to the United States, and being denied citizenship. So, if you have been charged with attempted murder, you should contact a criminal defense attorney to handle your criminal proceedings and an immigration attorney to handle the immigration side of things.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with attempted murder, you should immediately contact an attempted murder defense attorney to represent you and keep you from going to prison for a long period of time. Our murder defense lawyers have the knowledge and experience necessary to achieve the best possible results for you. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.

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