What is an Attempted Murder Charge?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 15 February 2020
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An attempted murder charge is basically an official legal accusation. If a person is charged with attempted murder, this means he is suspected of trying to kill another person. In most places, a person can only be charged with attempted murder if there is evidence that he intended to kill the other party or behaved in a reckless manner and without regard for the other person's life. Typically, this type of charge means the defendant has been accused of the crime, but it does not mean he is guilty. In many places, a person is only considered guilty of attempted murder after he has had a trial for the crime and has been found guilty.

When a person faces an attempted murder charge, he usually has a trial at which prosecuting attorneys try to prove his guilt and his attorney works to prove his innocence. In some cases, a person may try to prove that he is not only innocent of the charge, but is also innocent of any other crime. In such a case, he may assert that he never tried to kill the victim or harm him in anyway. In other cases, however, a defendant may admit that he is guilty of attempting to harm the victim but state that he did not attempt to kill him. A defendant may even admit that he did harm the victim but assert that the damage he did was unintentional.


The conditions for proving an attempted murder charge may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In many places, however, prosecuting attorneys have to show that a person intended to kill the victim. This means he willfully and purposefully participated in behavior that he believed would result in the victim's death. In some cases, prosecuting attorneys may work to prove the charges by demonstrating that the defendant knew that neglecting to perform a particular action would result in the victim's death.

Sometimes the use of a deadly weapon may be enough to help prosecutors prove an attempted murder charge. For example, if a person fires a deadly weapon at another party on purpose and not in self-defense, attorneys may be able to use the fact that he knew the weapon was deadly as a factor in proving a charge of attempted murder. If a party hits another person with a blunt object and uses deadly force, it may be possible for his attorneys to defend him by asserting that he did not realize the blow might kill the victim.

Interestingly, some jurisdictions have laws that make planning a murder and attempting one two different crimes. In many places, for example, a person can carefully plan a murder but not face an attempted murder charge if he does not carry his plan out. He may face other criminal charges, however.


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Post 3

@Ana1234 - Actually I read an article a little while ago about an undercover policeman who essentially ran a sting operation on people who were looking for a hit man. He would get them to explain exactly what they wanted done and get them to pay for it and then the police would use that evidence to convict them, I assume with attempted murder charges.

I was surprised that there were enough people doing this for him to need to be full time undercover, but not only that, he wasn't even the only one. So there must be quite a few people out there who are not only planning murder, but getting caught for it.

Post 2

@bythewell - I think most rational people could distinguish between planning for fun and planning for purpose. I mean, there are thousands of people out there writing books about crime who must do all kinds of planning and research but it's pretty obvious what they are doing and they aren't going to be arrested or charged for it.

I doubt very many attempted murder charges come from that kind of thing. It seems more like they would level them at people who do things like felony drunk driving.

Post 1

I think it's a very fine line to cross, between planning a murder and attempting a murder. I'm glad I don't have to decide on that kind of thing, because I have plenty of friends who have jokingly talked about being assassins or whatever and even planned out what they might do to get to a famous figure, with the intention of basically describing what was like the plot of a film and no intention of actually doing it.

That might seem obviously without harm, but who is to say that one of them might not be fascinated with the idea of figuring out a real plan, without any intention of following it, but just as an exercise? With bank

heist films and other stories that follow career criminals, it is fun to think about what you might do in their place, but without any intention of actually going through with it and ending up with theft and murder charges.

My point is that it seems like it would be difficult to ensure that you don't impinge on free speech, but still protect people.

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