Having practiced in the San Fernando Valley now for 26 years and handled thousands of attempted murder related offenses, I have a pretty good idea of what the number one defense is. Of course, you have to look at the facts of the case and see what happened and then make a good effort to decide what the best defense is going to be for the case, if it’s a case that you’re going to fight.
Lack of Intent
The number one defense that I’ve seen is that the person did not have the intent to kill the other person. These attempted murder (CALCRIM 600) cases are tough because if you get convicted of them in any of the San Fernando Valley courthouses you’re looking at a 15 to life sentence just for that charge alone.
So, that gives the prosecutors a pretty big hammer against anybody they charge with attempted murder in the Valley. They’re pretty harsh with this cases.
But a lot of times, there’s more than meets the eye and the police really haven’t done a very good investigation. They’ve only tried to bring out evidence related to the defendant being guilty versus trying to investigate the overall case to find out what really happened.
Obviously, that’s where the defense comes in to talk to the client in the case and get all of the information. Of course, some of the information might be great information.
Some information might not be as good as we would like, but we like to get all of it so we can make an informed decision on what the best course of action is moving forward if you’re charged with attempted murder because of he serious nature of the charge.
We get all the information from the client first. Then we’ll conduct an investigation to see if any witnesses need to be talked to. I can us my investigator for that. Of course, I will tell the investigator what questions to ask and what angle we’re looking at.
Negotiation with Prosecutor for Lesser Charges
Also, in conjunction with all this, we’re going to need the police report. We’re going to need to see exactly what investigation the police have done, what they’re claiming happened, what the witnesses are saying, and then lastly, what I like to get is a perspective from the prosecutor.
So, I will challenge the prosecutor and say, why do you think my client is good for an attempted murder and then I’ll be quiet and listen and take notes. Let’s see what the other side has to say about it.
Once we have all that information, we can formulate our game plan — our attack plan. Is it going to be a case that’s going to be fought all the way through to a jury trial, or is it going to be a case that we need to negotiate — try to work out some sort of a resolution — maybe get a lesser charge?
So, that’s what we’re looking at. A lot of times cases are over-filed. They shouldn’t be charged as an attempted murder. They should be charged with something else. But if you want to try to convince the prosecutors of that, you’re going to have to have a good argument.
We need an argument that makes sense, an argument that challenges some of the elements of an attempted murder case under Penal Code 664/187 in the San Fernando Valley, and in order to do that, usually what I see as the best defense is, look the person didn’t intend to kill the other person.
Real Attempted Murder Case Example
I can give you a perfect example on a case that I just did. I was able to get my client an accessory after the fact and she was able to avoid that attempted murder conviction. It’s a scenario where she was simply a driver, so that was one form of defense — that she didn’t shoot anybody She didn’t intend to kill anybody.
But also, we looked at what the defendant who was the one that supposedly was the one trying to kill the other party really did in the case. He did shoot the other party after they wrestled for a gun, but after the initial shooting, that defendant got command of the gun and had it in his hand.
The other defendant had been shot but was still able to move around and stand up and the one defendant with the gun went right up to him and did not shoot him. He left. One shot. So, how can they prove an attempted murder case in that scenario.
He had the opportunity to finish the job to kill the person and he doesn’t take it. That shows his intent and of course, that reverberates back to my client who never had the intent to kill anybody but did drive the person who shot the gun away from the scene.
Retain an Experienced Criminal Attorney
So, you really have to look at the facts and circumstances of the case and you need somebody who’s been doing it a long time like me, who’s handled cases and done jury trials in the San Fernando Valley for many years now.
I’ve had success — won cases, seen what juries look at in these attempted murder cases, how they decide them, what evidence makes a difference to them and you have to know how to investigate them, how to negotiate them, how to talk to the prosecutor, how to get the judge involved if that’s necessary.
So, if you or a loved one has an attempted murder charge in one of the San Fernando Valley courts, pick up the phone, take the first step towards getting the matter resolved the right way.
Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in the San Fernando Valley at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0940.