There are many different murder convictions, and while watching TV shows or movies, we see perpetrators being given different types of sentencing (and this is sometimes used to add drama). In real life, the different degrees of murder charges are incredibly important as they set the terms for the type of conviction the defendant receives, and the kind of punishment they are dealt. This article will focus on attempted murder under California Penal Code 664/187.
Some people think that when a murder goes wrong, and the victim does not die, that the perpetrator will not face any murder charges – this is wrong. Attempted murder is a serious conviction with two specific elements: the defendant had the intent to murder the victim and the victim must not have died. There must have been a direct act, which if having worked correctly, would have actually resulted in the death of the victim. Therefore, a direct act does not constitute just thinking about killing someone, but taking a very deliberate action to do so.
If a defendant is found guilty of attempted murder, they face a felony conviction. This conviction can either be first-degree or second-degree. First-degree means that the murder was premediated, while second-degree means that it was not. However, in either case, there still have to be intent to kill and a direct act in that moment. If found guilty of a first-degree charge, the defendant faces a life sentence in state prison. However, if convicted of second-degree attempted murder, the penalties include only up to nine years in state prison. According to the three strikes law, as the number of strikes (read: felonies) increases, so do your punishments. If someone has been wrongly accused of attempted murder, they must not hesitate in seeking the counsel of an experienced criminal lawyer.