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Our Albuquerque Homicide Law Firm Explains Attempted Murder Charge Processes
29 Jun 2015

Our Albuquerque Homicide Law Firm Explains Attempted Murder Charge Processes

hands on prison bars Albuquerque Criminal AttorneyIf you or a loved one has been charged with attempted murder, you may be frightened, confused and unclear on what you should do next, other than contact a murder law firm Albuquerque. Naturally, your first step should be to hire an attorney, but it is also important to understand what attempted murder is and what the process is for charging a defendant with attempted murder.

What Is Attempted Murder?

According to our homicide law firm Albuquerque attorney, attempted murder is the failed or aborted attempt to kill someone else. If you are charged with attempted murder, you must have taken a direct step toward committing murder and must have had the intention of killing the other person. However, there are certain factors that must be proven by a prosecutor in order for you to be convicted of the crime.

Direct Step

In order to obtain a conviction for attempted murder, the prosecutor must show that you took a direct step toward killing another person. That means you must go beyond planning the crime and actually take steps to commit it. Thinking about killing someone, talking about it with others or even planning the crime is not necessarily a direct step. However, if you go beyond planning and actually put a plan into motion that could result in the death of another person, a prosecutor could prove you took a direct step in committing attempted murder. Some of the factors that have been determined to be direct steps include:

  • Stalking, tracking or ambushing the intended victim – this could be lying in wait, hiding near their home or workplace or following them in hopes of committing murder.
  • Luring – trying to convince your intended victim to take specific actions or come to a specific place for the purpose of killing or having them killed.
  • Breaking and entering – if you sneak into someone’s home, access their property without permission or trespass in a location where they are for the purpose of committing murder.
  • Collecting or constructing – gathering materials to be used in the commission of a murder, such as rope, duct tape or the parts of a bomb.
  • Hiring a hitman – paying or convincing another person to perform the murder for you or convincing someone else to carry out a key part of the murder, such as providing an unknowing person with a bomb.

The prosecutor may be able to connect many different direct steps in an effort to prove you intended to commit murder, which is why it is important to seek the advice of a lawyer in a murder law firm Albuquerque.

Intention to Commit Murder

The other factor that must be proven by the prosecutor is that you intended to kill someone. The prosecutor must show that you intended for someone to die and that you intended to kill either one specific person or several people. Attempted murder is not an accident. You must have the intent to take the actions required to commit murder and you must intend to kill the targeted victim or victims. If your intention was to simply maim or frighten someone and you accidentally kill them, it is possible that an attorney can argue you were not guilty of attempted murder. For example, if you are angry at someone and get a tire iron out of your trunk, you may have taken a direct step toward killing someone. However, if you strike the person in the legs, it could be argued you did not intend to kill them, even if they die of the injury. However, if you strike them in the head, it is more likely that you intended to kill them, and the attempted murder charge could be proven.

Defenses to Attempted Murder

A defense attorney will use many different tactics to attempt to discredit a prosecutor’s case. Because someone may not have been harmed at all in an attempted murder case, there are defenses available that may not be used in other cases. Some states allow for an impossibility defense where the defense claims that there could not have been a murder even if the plan had been carried out completely. Other states will allow a renunciation or withdrawal defense. In this type of defense, you must prove that you abandoned the attempt to murder someone, whether it was because you had second thoughts or because the plan was not working. If you intentionally stopped the efforts to kill the other person, you may be able to claim a renunciation or withdrawal defense. Since each state’s law is different, and since that law changes through litigation in the courts, it is important that an experienced criminal lawyer represent you.

Obtaining Bail After Being Charged

Once you are arrested for attempted murder, you will be processed and placed in jail. In most states, a charge of attempted murder may not disqualify you from being awarded bail, allowing you to be free until your case comes to trial. Bail amounts for attempted murder may be set by a state’s statute or the judge may have discretion in awarding bail. If that is the case, your history of violent behavior, previous crimes committed and ties to the community may have a bearing on whether bail is set in your case. In addition, the safety of your alleged victim will be taken into account and, if the judge feels your victim may be in danger if you are released, bail could be denied. An attorney with a criminal law law firm Albuquerque can help you through the bail process and provide you with a better chance of being released on bail in states that permit it in attempted murder cases.

Punishments for Attempted Murder

In New Mexico, the death penalty has been repealed, except for offenses occurring prior to the repeal date. Unlike murder, the death penalty is not a possible punishment if you are convicted of attempted murder prior to the repeal date. However, it is a felony offense that normally comes with a prison sentence. In some states, there are varying degrees of attempted murder, just as there are in murder cases. A charge of first degree attempted murder indicates that you, intentionally and with premeditation, planned to murder another person. Second degree murder indicates that you acted in a fit of passion or without premeditation. You could also be charged with second degree attempted murder if you committed another felony, such as arson or burglary. Each degree has different possible punishments or sentences with first degree attempted murder bringing lengthier sentences than second degree in most states. If you are convicted of first degree attempted murder in most states, you are likely to receive a life sentence, although there is the possibility of probation, unlike with murder convictions.

Contact a Criminal Albuquerque Homicide Law Firm

Having a qualified attorney on your side is critical after being charged with attempted murder, whether it is first or second degree. If you or a loved one have been charged with attempted murder, contact a Twohig Law Firm, a homicide law firm in Albuquerque, for a consultation regarding what your next steps should be in order to fight the attempted murder charge. Call us today at (505) 898-0400.



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