Riverside Murder Defense Lawyer
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If you’ve been accused of murder or attempted murder, you need a defense attorney who is up to the task of defending your rights. Though the ideals of the legal system suggest that someone is innocent until proven guilty, the system often falls short of this ideal. Criminal allegations as serious as murder and attempted murder will affect your life in many ways. To prevent such allegations from completely overwhelming your life, contact a defense attorney well versed in defending such charges today.
The legal definition of murder and attempted murder likely differ from what you have in mind. Murder is not simply the act of killing someone (homicide is a criminal charge separate from murder). Murder is the killing of a person with “malice aforethought.”
What’s the Difference Between Murder and Homicide?
What makes murder inherently different from homicide is that homicide is sometimes excused as being justifiable. Soldiers who kill enemies in war and civilians who kill intruders are two examples of homicides that are justifiable. Murder, on the other hand, cannot be excused or justified.
A Lesser Form of Murder
Manslaughter should also be mentioned, as it is often considered a lesser form of murder. There are two types of manslaughter: voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter occurs when someone is committing a felony offense, and a fatal accident occurs without the intent to kill. Involuntary manslaughter usually happens as a result of negligence or recklessness that led to the death of another person. There’s also vehicular homicide/manslaughter, which is often part of
involuntary manslaughter that happens due to negligence—such as driving while intoxicated.
What Is Attempted Murder?
Attempted murder is failed murder, and like murder, must have intent. To be convicted of attempted murder, the prosecutor must prove that the accused took a direct step toward killing the victim in both action and intention. Proving action is usually broken down into five areas:
- Stalking, tracking, or ambushing (following or tracking down) in hopes of finding a good moment to conduct the murder.
- Luring (trying to set up the victim to be in a specific area at a specific time).
- Breaking-in (trespassing unlawfully to find the victim).
- Constructing (collecting or having the material necessary to conduct the murder).
- Soliciting (paying or trying to pay someone to murder a person).
If the action can be proven, then the intention to murder must come next. You can’t accidentally
attempt to commit a murder. Here the prosecutor must specifically identify that the accused had intent to act and intent to kill.
Intent to act is the first step to committing a murder. For instance, if you plan to kill someone using a bomb and purchase the material to make it, then put it together—you have made a direct step in committing murder. Intent to kill is harder to define, as it must specify the intention to murder and not maim, frighten, or disfigure someone. If you hit someone with a metal pipe to the head rather than the legs, it could be taken as attempted murder, as the head is much more vulnerable. Often the circumstances of the crime can prove intent to kill. Whether it be a metal pipe or a bomb, the action taken during the attempt usually conveys intent to kill.
Degrees of Murder and Attempted Murder
There are two degrees of murder—first- and second-degree murder. First-degree murder is planned with malice aforethought. Felony murder—also a first-degree murder—can be charged if the defendant performed a serious crime with the death of a person as a result. Second-degree murder is not premeditated but is intentional. Voluntary and involuntary manslaughter serve as lesser degrees of murder and are often considered crimes of passion.
Some states further segregate murder. For instance, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota have a third-degree murder charge. Third-degree murder is the unintentional killing of someone while committing a nonviolent felony.
Attempted murder is similarly defined. First-degree attempted murder is the premeditated attempt at someone’s life, while second-degree attempted murder is non-premeditated attempted murder. Like murder, some states have different regulations and may only recognize first-degree attempted murder—Pennsylvania, for instance.
Is It Attempted Murder or Assault?
There is a stark contrast in sentence length between attempted murder and assault charges. The difference between the two is often specific to the actions and intentions the person implemented as their “direct step” mentioned previously. Attempted murder doesn’t mean that you harmed a person; it means that you took a direct step toward killing someone. For instance, if you manufactured a bomb but never used it, you could still be accused of attempted murder without actually harming anyone as long as you had intended to murder someone. However, assault means that you physically harmed, maimed, or disfigured another person intentionally. The main difference is that the intent here isn’t to murder but cause harm to a person.
There is a very fine line between attempted murder and assault. With intent being the big difference between the two, you can seriously harm yourself if you aren’t prepared. Your defense lawyer can help you sort out what the prosecution will try to argue in court.
How Criminal Allegations Will Affect You
Allegations, whether they are true or not, will affect every part of your life. If they are as serious as felonies, they can prevent you from getting a job, and your friends and family may doubt you. Traveling out of the country may become impossible; many countries will prevent people with any criminal record from visiting. Japan and Canada go as far as to completely bar people with
To defend yourself against allegations of murder or attempted murder, you need a criminal defense attorney who is willing to fight for you. At Exum Law Offices, we have board-certified lawyers who have both the compassion and dedication to defend you no matter what. We are trial prepared and ready to put our skills and experience to work to project you. Contact us to
schedule a consultation today.