Attempted Murder -- California's "Catch-all" Crime

California’s attempted murder law is easy to charge but fortunately a little more difficult to prove. We say this because anytime someone is beaten, sexually assaulted, maimed, or even threatened, overzealous prosecutors charge this crime. They attempt to prove that any serious injury or any criminal conduct involving a weapon necessarily involves an attempted murder.


Before you can be convicted of California’s attempted murder law, the prosecutor must prove that you had the “specific intent to kill”. Not the intent to seriously injure someone, not the intent to threaten someone, not the intent to maim someone, not the intent to torture someone, but the specific intent to kill another person.

Proving this intent can be difficult, absent very compelling evidence. If, for example, you are holding a loaded gun to someone’s head and pull the trigger…but for some reason, the gun malfunctions and doesn’t fire…your intent is pretty clear.

But absent this type of scenario, proving that you intended to kill someone can be a challenge. And an experienced California criminal defense lawyer is sure to help make that challenge even more difficult.