Attempt to Commit Murder
Violent crimes, like attempted murder, are taken extremely seriously by the legal system and carry harsh, life-altering consequences. The most important things to do after being arrested and charged with attempted murder in Colorado are to gather and preserve evidence and seek the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney. Attempted murder is a grave offense that, if convicted, carries significant jail time and financial penalties. There are, however, several intricacies to Colorado’s statutes that are important to keep in mind.
Colorado Attempt to Commit Murder Lawyers
If you or a loved one is being investigated for murder, we urge you to work with an attorney at the start of the case. Our criminal defense lawyers at Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC have extensive knowledge of the Colorado criminal justice system and can form a strong defense for your case.
Do not wait much longer because the stakes are high. Call (719) 328-1616 to arrange a confidential consultation with Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC today.
Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC has offices in Denver, CO, and Colorado Springs, CO.
- Attempt To Commit Murder
- Attempt to Commit Murder In The Second Degree Charges
- Penalties For Attempted Murder In Colorado
- Defenses To Attempted Murder Charge
- Additional Resources
Attempt To Commit Murder
Colorado has charges for both ‘attempted first-degree murder and for ‘attempted murder in the second degree.’
According to § 18-3-102 of the Colorado Revised Statute, attempted first-degree murder occurs when someone acts with premeditation and tries to end a victim’s life. Some examples of this may include:
- Shooting someone with a gun but the bullet misses or does not kill them
- Poisoning an individual, but the victim becomes sick rather than dying
- Brandishing and using a knife with the intention of killing the victim, but the individual survives the attack
Colorado Revised Statute § 18-3-102 further requires that the accused knowingly engages in conduct that “creates a grave risk of death under circumstances showing extreme indifference to the value of human life generally.” Under these circumstances, the accused can still be charged with attempted first-degree murder even if they did not directly target the victim. Some examples of this may include:
- Driving a car into a crowd to harm or kill individuals, but the car fails to strike any victims
- Shooting weapons into a crowd of individuals but not causing deadly injuries
Attempt to Commit Murder In The Second Degree Charges
Attempted murder in the second degree differs. Under § 18-3-103 of the Colorado Revised Statute, an individual commits attempted murder in the second degree if they did not act with premeditation to purposefully kill a victim but acted with “extreme indifference to the value of human life generally.”
An example of attempted murder in the second degree may include a bar fight where the accused beats another individual close to death, but they survive. This example would vary from attempted first-degree murder because the prosecution would have to establish that the accused specifically intended to beat the victim to the point of death.
Penalties For Attempted Murder In Colorado
Like the rest of the United States, Colorado views attempted murder as a violent crime and punishes it accordingly. Attempted murder in Colorado can carry different penalties depending on whether the crime is charged as a Class 2 or Class 3 felony.
Class 2 Felony Penalties
Attempted first-degree murder in Colorado is a Class 2 felony. Other examples of Class 2 felonies include sexual assault and human trafficking. The minimum penalties defendants may face for a Class 2 felony include the following:
- Eight to twenty-four years in prison
- Five years of mandatory parole after being released from prison
- Monetary fines ranging from $5,000 to $1 million
These penalties can be increased if the prosecution can establish that the crime was “enhanced.” An attempted first-degree murder charge is enhanced if the accused used or possessed a “deadly weapon” or caused serious bodily injury to another individual. When this is the case, the crime becomes a “crime of violence.” Under Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-1.3-406, crimes of violence can increase the penalties for an attempted first-degree murder charge to a minimum of sixteen and a maximum of forty-eight years.
Some examples of deadly weapons under Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-1-901 include:
- Unloaded or loaded firearms
Class 3 Felony Penalties
Attempted murder in the second degree is a Class 3 felony in Colorado. The minimum penalties for a Class 3 felony include the following:
- Four to twelve years in prison
- Five years of mandatory parole after being released from prison
- Monetary fines from $3,000 to $750,000
A Class 3 felony may also be enhanced if the accused used a deadly weapon or caused serious bodily injury while engaged in criminal activity. When enhanced, a Class 3 felony increases the minimum prison sentence to ten years and the maximum to thirty-two years.
Defenses To Attempted Murder Charge
It’s important to remember that ‘attempt’ charges can be challenging to prove in court. It’s easy for prosecutors to allege that a defendant acted with intent, but it’s much harder for them to prove that the accused had an actual plan and took steps toward carrying it out.
The most common defense for attempted murder charges is lack of intent. If there is no evidence that the person intended to kill someone, they cannot be convicted of attempted murder. For example, suppose a person tried to shoot someone because they thought that person had stolen their car, but the shot accidentally hits an innocent bystander instead. In that case, they may not be guilty of attempted murder because they did not intend to kill anyone when they pulled out their gun and started shooting.
An accused may also be able to argue that they did not know the victim did not consent to the activities giving rise to their injury. This may arise, for example, if they thought it was consensual play fighting or if they didn’t realize they could cause serious injury through their actions (like throwing a rock at someone’s head). An accused can also argue that they were mistaken because they had no knowledge of their actions and therefore lacked intent. A classic example of this would be an individual using what they believed to be a stun gun that later turned out to be a real gun.
Finally, an accused can also argue self-defense or defense of others as a reason for their actions. In these scenarios, the accused would have to show that their actions were necessary to protect themselves or others from harm and force was necessary to prevent death or serious bodily harm.
The following resources cover statutes relevant to attempted murder charges.
Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-3-102 – The statute covering murder in the first degree.
Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-3-103 – The statute covering murder in the second degree.
Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-1.3-406 – The statute covering sentencing for violent crimes.
Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-1-901 – The definition section of Title 18 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.
Colorado Springs Murder Attorneys | El Paso County, CO
If you have been arrested for murder, speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney immediately. Murder charges should not be taken lightly. A conviction may follow you around for the rest of your life, negatively impacting many different aspects of your daily routine.
Our lawyers at Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC will fight tirelessly to protect your rights, build your case, and ensure you get the best outcome possible. Call (719) 328-1616 to arrange a consultation with Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC today.
Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC is located in Colorado Springs, but we accept clients throughout the greater El Paso County area.