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Best Defenses to Attempted Murder Charge in Los Angeles

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ. | Feb 26, 2019

When someone is charged with attempted murder, they really start looking around and scrambling to try to find an attorney and try to find some solutions to their problem.  A lot of times they're in custody so it's left to their family to do the ground work and the leg work for them to figure out what the best way is to handle their attempted murder case in Los Angeles county.

The biggest problem with most of the attempted murder cases that I've seen over the last twenty-five years of practicing criminal defense in LA is that they're usually charged as premeditation and deliberation, which basically means that if the individual is convicted of that particular charge, they'll be looking at fifteen to life, which means they will have to serve 85% of fifteen years in State prison before they're even eligible to try and get parole.

They'll come up each year and they may never get out under those circumstances.  That's why there's such a fire under people, because once the realize that, they realize all the marbles are on the line and they have to figure out a way to either defend the case or negotiate it.

When we talk about the best defenses for attempted murder, I can hit some of them for you and kinda give you some real live stuff, having handled hundreds of these cases over the course of the last twenty-five years.


The first defense that I see most of the time and it's pretty simplistic, but it's true, is that, I'm not the one who did it.  I'm innocent.  I did not do what these people or person is accusing me of doing and therefore, I should be found not guilty of the attempted murder charge.  Of course, this brings up other concepts such as alibi — if you were somewhere else when the crime occurred.

There are eyewitnesses that can be used to put you at a different location, as well — a job, a vacation, if you're out of the country — there's all sorts of different things that can be used to assert an alibi defense in an attempted murder case in LA.

Also, if the other side doesn't have eye witnesses putting you at a location, that creates a problem as well.  We've done live line-ups to try to show that my client was not the one who did the shooting if that's what the attempted murder case is, or the stabbing, or whatever the circumstances are, to bring this person to be charged with an attempted murder charge in one of the Los Angeles County courthouses.  So, not being there and not being the one that actually physically did whatever it is the actions were that amount to a crime is obviously one big defense.


Another big defense in these attempted murder cases in Los Angeles is self-defense.  Yeah, I used deadly force.  Yeah, I used a knife.  Yeah, I used my car.  Whatever the case may be, but I did it because I was trying to protect myself.  I was trying to defend myself.  Maybe someone shot at one person and the other person shot back.  Maybe somebody threatened to kill somebody and the other person just acted before they acted.  It could be a variety of different things.

Really what it boils down to in seeing if the self-defense defense works in LA county is whether or not you were acting reasonably under the circumstances of your case.  If you weren't acting reasonably and you weren't acting in such a way that you could actually assert a self-defense claim, then this defense is not going to work.

That's why we get you in or I go see your loved one in custody.  We talk about the case and we make a decision as to whether this person really can assert a self-defense claim, or a claim that they were simply not there at the time the attempted murder charge took place

Lesser Charge

Another defense that I see besides these two defenses is, no, it wasn't an attempted murder case, it should be another charge.  I wasn't trying to kill the person, and therefore, if should be some lesser charge — assault with a deadly weapon, battery, some other charge depending on the circumstances of a particular case.  We tell the jury, yes, my client did this, this and this; but no, they did not do something sufficient to be charged with attempted murder.

Lack of Intent

Another thing kind of under the vein of this is I wasn't trying to kill the person, because for an attempted murder charge, you have to have the specific intent to kill.  So, if you beat somebody up very badly but you broke the attack off, there's an argument that you weren't trying to kill him.  You didn't finish the job.

You didn't try and finish the job.  So, this argument that the person wasn't trying to kill the other person is a really good defense in the right attempted murder case depending on the circumstances of your case.

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

Ronald D. Hedding, Esq., is the founding member of the Hedding Law Firm. Mr. Hedding has an extensive well-rounded legal background in the area of Criminal Law. He has worked for the District Attorney's Office, a Superior Court Judge, and as the guiding force behind the Hedding Law Firm. His multi-faceted experience sets Mr. Hedding apart and puts him in an elite group of the best Criminal Defense Attorneys in Southern California.