More and more, people are being charged with California Penal Code 664/187 attempted murder in Los Angeles County and surrounding counties. If you or a loved one is charged with attempted murder, you want to get the best attorney you can find.
Because, if it's attempted premeditated murder, you or your loved one is facing 15 to life at a minimum. This means if you go to jury trial and lose, the judge must give you at least a sentence of 15 to life.
So, with these kinds of things on the line, you need the best defense attorney you can find. I've been doing this now for 30 years. I started out working for the District Attorney's office, and then in 1993, I began working for a Superior Court Judge as his right-hand man.
That gave me a pretty good peek into how justice is dispensed. I've done many attempted murder cases over the years. In 1994, I became a criminal defense attorney and had been doing that ever since. So, you've come to the right place.
To be the best, you've got to be able to beat the prosecutors. The prosecutors are going to have the best detectives investigating the case. They're usually going to assign one of their top-level prosecutors.
So, with top-level people trying to put your loved one away for 15 to life, you want to get a defense attorney who can match up against them, and hopefully, is better than them, because you want that extra experience and skill if you want to beat them because all of the marbles are on the line. Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers will explain this topic further below.
What is the Penal Code 664/187 Attempted Murder Law in California?
California Penal Code 664 defines the inchoate, meaning incomplete, the crime of attempt. Penal Code 187 defines the crime of murder, either a first or second degree. Thus, an attempted murder under California law is known as a 664/187, which combines the crime of attempt and murder.
To be arrested, charged, and convicted of attempted PC 664/187, nobody has to be killed, as the name implies, but the government must prove the defendant's mental state for a conviction. Attempted murder means somebody tried but failed to kill a human being. The prosecutors have two primary factors they have to prove:
- defendant took a direct step towards killing somebody, and
- defendant had the intent to kill them, called malice aforethought.
A direct step is any action that would complete the crime of murder, but it's more than making a plan to kill. There must be some action, such as shooting at someone but missing.
The most crucial element of the crime in an attempted murder charge is the intent to kill. While a defendant might be guilty of other crimes for trying to carry out a dangerous act, they can't be guilty of attempted murder unless the prosecution can prove they intended to kill someone. Many related charges could be filed in addition to, or instead of, Penal Code 664/187 attempted murder, such as the following:
- Penal Code 16100 PC – drive-by shooting,
- Penal Code 246 PC – shooting at inhabited dwelling or car,
- Penal Code 192(a) – voluntary manslaughter,
- Penal Code 653f – solicitation to commit a crime.
There are two different types of PC 664/187 attempted murder charges, including first and second degree:
- First-degree attempted murder is where someone plans on killing somebody, premeditates it, thinks about it, sets up a plan, and goes and tries to kill them but falls short, and they don't kill that person.
- Second-degree attempted murder is when there is no premeditation and deliberation, such as a sudden quarrel, and they decide to try to kill them at that moment.
Intent to Kill and Seeking Reduced Charges
One of the most significant issues in attempted murder cases is whether the person intended to kill the other party. You can get the not guilty verdict on the attempted murder if you prove they weren't trying to kill the person.
You may find other crimes, maybe Penal Code 245 PC assault with deadly weapon or some other crime, depending on the facts and circumstances of the court. But assault with a deadly weapon is much better than attempted murder because you can get what's called a determinative sentence in the assault with a deadly weapon, which means you can get a sentence that you know when you get out.
In the 15 to life scenario with attempted murder, you conceivably could never get out. You keep coming up for parole but aren't let out. That's the life part of it. Other issues can come up in attempted murder cases, but of course, it depends on the facts and circumstances of the case. One of the first things we need to do, which is why you hire the best, is deciding whether or not you're going to fight the case.
Fight the Attempted Murder Case vs. Negotiate a Plea Bargain
Some cases are worth fighting for various reasons. Sometimes people are just straight innocent. Other times, the prosecutors have a terrible case, a complex case to prove, and they're making such a ridiculously high offer that it just makes sense to fight them and go to trial.
Other times they've got the evidence. If they've got somebody on video shooting at multiple people, that's probably not the best case to take to trial. We will need to mitigate the circumstances and figure out a game plan to either get a lesser charge or work something out. There's another attempted murder that does not involve premeditation and deliberation that can get you a determinative sentence — when you know when you're going to get out.
So, again, you can't just take a broad brush in these attempted murder cases and say, this is what you're going to do in a single case. That's why you get a skilled criminal defense attorney who has handled hundreds of these cases, taken them to trial, negotiated them — that person is going to be able to make that initial decision with you, whether to fight the case or work out a resolution.
However, the job is not done at that point. If you decide to fight the case, now you've got to investigate and set it up to win the jury trial. If you decide to negotiate the case, now you have to figure out what you will negotiate for. What can you bring to bear to the prosecutors to show them that you want to get whatever resolution we decide on? We've got to show them that you deserve that resolution and that it makes sense in the big scheme of things compared with other similarly situated defendants.
Review your Case with the Hedding Law Firm
So, if you're looking for the best criminal defense attorney to defend you or a loved one in an attempted murder case, whether it be in Los Angeles or any of the surrounding counties, you've come to the right place.
‘Pick up the phone. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. We'll break down your case, inch by inch, step by step, and start making some moves to put you or your loved one in a better position. The Hedding Law Firm is Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who serves people throughout Southern California. We offer a free case review by phone or you can fill out our contact form.