California Penal Code 664/187(a) PC

PC 664/187(a) – Attempted Murder

PC 664/187(a) - Attempted Murder

Attempted Murder – Table of Contents

Understanding “Attempted Murder” and “Murder”

California defines Penal 664/187(a) PC defines attempted murder as the attempted unlawful killing of another person, or a fetus, with malice aforethought. The act of attempted murder is accomplished when the perpetrator intends to kill someone and takes direct action towards killing the person, but the intended victim lives and does not die. Like murder under Penal Code 187 PC), attempted murder is divided into categories: first and second degree. First-degree attempted murder is premeditated and willful. Second-degree is all other types of attempted murder. Attempted first-degree murder is punished by a life sentence in state prison. Attempted second-degree murder is punished by a determinate sentence of 5, 7, or 9 years in state prison, representing the low, mid and high term respectively.

California Penal Code 187 PC defines the crime of murder as the “unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.” A key component of this definition has to do with the phrase “malice aforethought.” This malice can either be expressed or implied in nature. Express malice is when an individual will deliberately choose to commit murder. Implied malice, on the other hand, has to do with actions that evidence an individual possessing an abandoned and malignant heart. In these circumstances, an individual, through their wanton demeanor, created a situation that resulted in the killing of another individual.

Now that we have established the legal foundation underpinning the crime of murder itself, we can turn to the crime of California attempted murder Penal Code 664. California attempted murder Penal Code Section 664/187(a) defines what it means to “attempt” to commit a crime in the state of California. The language of California attempted murder Penal Code Section 664/187(a) is somewhat convoluted, stating, in pertinent part:

Every person who attempts to commit any crime, but fails, or is prevented or intercepted in its perpetration, shall be punished where no provision is made by law for the punishment of those attempts, as follows:

(a) If the crime attempted is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170, the person guilty of the attempt shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison or in county jail, respectively, for one-half the term of imprisonment prescribed upon a conviction of the offense attempted.

The text of the penal code is admittedly dry and difficult to follow, so to gain a greater understanding of how the crime of California attempted murder Penal Code 664/187(a) is prosecuted, understanding the elements of the crime is essential.

Attempted Murder Penal Code (PC 664)

In California, the punishment for attempted murder, CA Penal Code 664 is nearly as severe as that for actual murder, CA Penal Code 187. In order to be convicted of attempted murder Penal Code 664/187(a) the prosecutor must prove the two elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That you took at least one direct step towards killing another person
  2. That you intended to kill that person

As is the case in all murder cases, a fetus is defined as a person.

If the prosecutor can successfully convince a jury that you are guilty then you will face severe charges. You can either be charged with first-degree attempted murder and second-degree attempted murder.

First-degree attempted murder Penal Code 664/187(a) pertains to cases that are willful, deliberate, and premeditated. If convicted of first-degree attempted murder Penal Code 664/187(a) you will face:

  • Life in prison with the possibility of parole
  • Victim restitution
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • No longer have the right to carry, own, possess, or acquire a firearm
  • A “strike” in accordance to California’s Three Strikes Laws

Second-degree attempted murder Penal Code 664/187(a) pertains to cases that are not willful, deliberate, or premeditated. If you are convicted of second-degree attempted murder then you will face:

  • Either five, seven, or nine years in state prison
  • Victim restitution
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • No longer have the right to carry, own, possess, or acquire a firearm
  • A “strike” in accordance to California’s Three Strikes Laws

If the prosecutor can prove that you committed your California attempted murder Penal Code 664/187(a) in order to benefit a gang then you will face an additional 15-years-to-life sentence in succession to your prior charges.

If you use a gun then you will face additional penalties in addition and consecutively as follows:

  • If you used a gun – 10-years
  • If you fired a gun – 20-years
  • If you killed someone or caused them great bodily harm – 25-years-to-life

Prosecuting for PC 664/187(a)

As previously mentioned, in order to be convicted of California attempted murder Penal Code 664/187(a) the prosecutor must prove the following elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That you took at least one direct step towards killing another person
  2. That you intended to kill that person

In order to understand how the prosecutor will build their case against you it is essential to have a full and complete understanding of the law itself.

Firstly, the law states that in order to be guilty of California attempted murder Penal Code 664/187(a) you must have performed at least one direct step towards murdering another person. It’s important to note that the direct step must be more than simply planning to kill another person, it must be an actual step towards the murder of that person. For instance, shooting at someone, or purposefully hitting someone with an automobile; basically, the direct step must be something that could kill a person if there wasn’t an outside influence.

The next element of the crime requires that you intended to kill another person. This simply means that your attempt to kill someone was not an accident.

Finally, it’s important to note that there does not need to be specificity in your California attempted murder Penal Code 664, just that you attempted to kill somebody.

If the prosecutor can prove the above-listed elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt to the court then you will be convicted of attempted murder in accordance to CA attempted murder PC 664.

Defending

Wrongfully Accused of Crime

False Accusation

There are several common legal defenses that a skilled criminal defense attorney can present to the courts to prove your innocence. The first legal defense we’ll explore is if you were falsely accused. Because of the nature of the crime, it is very common for people to be falsely accused. In fact, false accusations are the leading cause of wrongful convictions in the US. If a weapon is used, people become fixated on the weapon and not on the face of the person holding the weapon.

A skilled criminal defense attorney will make this clear to the jury in an attempt to showcase any uncertainty that witnesses have in identifying you as the criminal. If the jury is not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that you are the guilty party then you will not be convicted for California attempted murder Penal Code 664.

Self Defense

The next legal defense that your criminal defense attorney will explore is whether or not you were acting in self-defense. In California, there are laws to protect citizens from be prosecuted for acting in self-defense. However, it’s important to note that you are only protected under California self-defense laws when you:

  • reasonably believe that you or another person is in imminent harm, and
  • You don’t use excessive force to defend yourself when you fight back

No Direct Step

Another valid legal defense is to prove that you did not make a direct step to kill someone. A direct step is required to be convicted of attempted murder Penal Code 664, meaning you must go beyond the planning stages and implement the plan you had to kill a person. If you never made that direct step then you cannot be convicted of attempted murder.

If you are facing a PC 664/187(a) attempted murder charge, then it’s imperative to talk to a criminal defense attorney immediately. The punishments following a conviction are severe and life-changing but are avoidable. Seppi Esfandi is a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney with over 20 years of experience defending clients for a myriad of charges, including attempted murder.

Call Us for a FREE Case Review: 310-274-6529

Read our Client Reviews

Recent Victories

Contact Us:         
Esfandi Law Group QR Code
Esfandi Law Group
Lara S.
June 4, 2018
5
Seppi had my case reduced to just an infraction, and thanks to him I was able to keep my job. Jorge was extremely helpful too, the reason I went with this law firm. Overall pleased.

How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

  1. Don’t ever talk to the police
  2. Do not discuss your case with anyone
  3. Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
  4. Tell police you need to contact your attorney
  5. Never consent to any search by the police
  6. If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
  7. Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
  8. Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
  9. Information on your cell phone is evidence
  10. Early Intervention is the key

Get a Free Consultation

    Free ConsultationForm