You don’t normally equate shoving with attempted murder. However, that’s precisely why one Los Angeles man may face serious criminal charges. According to reports, the man was sitting on a bench when he stood up and randomly pushed another man into the street in front of oncoming traffic. The victim fell under the wheels of a large truck and sustained critical injuries, including a collapsed lung and broken bones.
The suspect picked up what appeared to be the victim’s watch and fled the scene. Police officers were able to locate the man approximately one hour after the shoving incident. He was arrested and may be charged with attempted murder.
What is Attempted Murder?
In California, it’s not just a crime to commit a crime successfully. It can also be a crime to attempt to do something that’s against the law. For most crimes, the state simply has to prove that you intentionally took a “direct but ineffective” step toward committing a particular offense. Things get a bit more complicated when the attempted crime is murder.
Penal Code 664/167 PC
- You took a direct but ineffective step toward killing another person, and
- You had the specific intent to kill that person.
Direct Step: A direct step involves more than a plan to commit a murder. You can’t be charged with attempt if all you’ve done is prepare, obtain materials, or make arrangements to carry out your plan. Instead, a direct step is an immediate step that puts your plan into action. A direct step will “indicate a direct and unambiguous intent to kill.”
Specific Intent to Kill: It’s not enough to take a direct step to put your plan in motion. You must also have the specific intent to end another person’s life. You cannot be guilty of attempted murder if you only intended to cause serious bodily injury or disfigurement.
Can You Be Guilty of Attempted Murder if You Abandon Your Plan?
It depends. If you haven’t taken a direct step in carrying out your plan, the answer is no. However, you can be convicted for attempted murder if, after taking a direct step, you changed your mind and abandoned the plan. The direct step, when paired with specific intent to kill, is enough to satisfy the elements of the crime.
Penalties for Attempted Murder
Attempted murder is a felony in California. The penalties will ultimately depend on whether you’re charged with attempted first-degree murder or attempted second-degree murder.
Attempted First-Degree Murder: First-degree murder requires a willful, deliberate, or premeditated attempt to kill someone. The maximum penalty for attempted first-degree murder is life in prison without parole.
Attempted Second-Degree Murder: Second-degree murder does not involve actions that are deliberate or premeditated. The maximum penalty for attempted second-degree murder is 9 years in a California state prison.
How Can I Defend Myself If I’ve Been Accused of Attempted Murder?
Attempted murder is a complicated crime. It can be tough for the state to prove everything it needs to get a conviction. Remember, the state has to prove that you (a) took a direct step toward committing the crime and (b) you had the specific intent to end another person’s life.
You can make the state’s job even more difficult by asserting a strong defense. The arguments you use in your defense should explain, excuse, or justify your alleged behavior.
Defenses to attempted murder include:
- You didn’t take a direct step to put your plan in motion
- You intended to injure, but not kill, another person
- Your actions were not deliberate or intentional, and
- You have been falsely accused or mistakenly identified.
It’s also possible to raise any issues that may affect the legality of the evidence in your case. If your rights have been violated, the state cannot be allowed to benefit from its unlawful actions. Your attorney can file a motion to suppress any evidence that’s been gathered in violation of your Constitutional rights. Without evidence, the state may not be able to satisfy its burden of proof.
Have you been accused of attempted murder? Contact our experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys for immediate assistance. We’ll review your case and help you understand your legal rights. A strong defense can make a huge difference. Our attorneys are prepared to help you fight for your future. Call today to learn more.