What does it mean to be charged with attempted murder?

| Mar 20, 2020 | Firm News

Not every relationship you have will end well. Perhaps you had a falling out with your spouse, a family member or a friend. When that person ends up in the hospital fighting for his or her life, the police may come to you for answers. It may not take you long to realize authorities suspect you of trying to murder the individual.

Since the person is still alive, you may face a charge of attempted murder. If convicted, you could face severe penalties, including the loss of your freedom and your life as you know it. Understanding the charges you face often serves as the first step to preparing a defense.

Why attempted murder and not some other charge?

You may wonder why prosecutors believe you committed attempted murder instead of aggravated assault or some other charge. The difference is the intent to take a life. If authorities believe that your intent was to kill and not just to cause harm to the victim, then you could face this charge. When it comes to proving “attempt,” prosecutors must meet a certain standard that includes providing the following details beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law:

  • You took the time to think about whether to kill the other person, including the pros and cons of doing so.
  • After careful consideration, you decided to do it.
  • You took steps to prepare to commit the crime, such as buying a gun, a disguise or other materials needed in order to commit it.
  • You actually began to carry out the crime, such as confronting the victim, driving to his or her home, or otherwise seeking out the individual with the intent to kill him or her.
  • For some reason, you didn’t complete the crime.

When it comes to attempted murder, not completing the crime could mean that prosecutors think you “missed” killing the victim. Maybe he or she didn’t die from wounds you allegedly inflicted, but you didn’t know that or stopped at some point. Even so, prosecutors will still need to prove that you intended to kill the other person but for some reason, you failed.

Of course, all of this assumes that prosecutors have the evidence to back up the theory that you intended to kill the person and attempted to carry out your plan to do so. You retain the right to challenge this assertion and the charges filed against you. With your freedom and life at stake, it would be wise to seek out the services of a Maryland attorney experienced in serious charges such as attempted murder.