Attempted Murder

Attempted MurderAttempted murder is a highly complex criminal charge with numerous defenses and dozens of cases that have molded the law.  Defending this crime absolutely requires a skilled and experienced defense attorney, but it also requires a lawyer who is willing to aggressively take on the state and the police, and sometimes think outside the box for the best possible defense.  Attempted murder is one of the few crimes that can never be undercharged but is frequently overcharged.  Many incidents that result in this crime involve a defendant who had no intent to kill, but is arrested on a life or a 30 year felony for attempted murder anyway.  As unfortunate as this may be at the outset, an experienced lawyer can use the state’s overzealous charging against them.    

In almost every violent crimes where deadly force was used the state will seek an indictment from a grand jury rather than holding a preliminary hearing.  If the state seeks an indictment for this crime, and the grand jury agrees, we will fight from the minute we are hired to attack each and every element of the indictment.  The grand jury system in Maryland is the definition of a lopsided affair.  Jurors in this setting are never given the full story, and will often rubber stamp whichever charge the police and prosecutors recommend.  Violent crime defendants that are not allowed to present any evidence, or even rebut the state’s evidence will always look terrible in the eyes of the grand jury, because violence and deadly force were involved.  Add this to the fact that you often have an alleged victim who is out for blood and it is easy to see why the indictment is a foregone conclusion.  But if the state gets what they want from the grand jury, they had better be willing and able to prove their case when the full story is told in court.  If the state seeks, but can’t prove attempted murder, they will have a tough time proving a lesser crime such assault and will often wind up with no convictions.

Attempted murder comes in two forms, first degree and second degree.  First degree is punishable by life in prison, and requires that the defendant plan and try to kill another person but fail.  This is an extremely rare crime.  First-degree murder is rare enough, but unfortunately when someone plans a killing they are usually successful.  Second degree is more common and is typically charged in situations such as heated altercations that escalate to the point where deadly force is used.  Non-lethal shootings and stabbings often result in second degree attempted murder charges.  Keep in mind that these situations are often better suited to a first degree assault charge, which a lawyer can push for the moment a defendant is arrested for attempted murder.  Self-defense is the most common defense to this charge, and if used properly can bar prosecution for all charges, including assault.  If you or someone you know has been arrested or is being investigated for any violent crime, contact The Herbst Firm for a free consultation.
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