Attempted murder is a severe crime in Nevada. A conviction for attempting to murder someone will attract a lengthy prison time and hefty fines. It will also leave you with a damaging criminal record that could affect various elements of your life, including your social and career lives. Thus, you must put a good fight if you face attempted murder charges in Las Vegas today. At The Law Offices of Martin Hart, we could walk you through the legal process and fight with you for a favorable result of your situation. Our competent criminal attorneys will use the best defense strategy to cause the court to dismiss or reduce your charges.
Nevada Attempted Murder — Legal Definition
Murder is a grave offense in Nevada. It involves taking the life of another person without legal justification. The legal justification for killing occurs under the following circumstances:
A law enforcement officer kills a civilian in the process of upholding the law
You accidentally kill a person while defending yourself or another person from imminent danger
Attempted murder entails making an attempt on another person’s life but not successfully killing them. It is an intentional act of trying to kill another person but not succeeding in it.
If you face criminal charges for attempted murder in Nevada, the prosecutor will have to prove the following elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt for the court to find you guilty:
That you intended to take the life of another person
You made one direct act, though ineffective, to accomplish the act
The main difference between Nevada attempted murder and murder is that the victim in attempted murder does not lose their life from the offender’s actions.
Let us look at the elements in greater detail to understand the offense better.
Intent to Kill
Just like murder, attempted murder must also begin with an intent to kill. The district attorney must prove in court that you intended to end the alleged victim’s life. Intending to injure or main the victim will not be enough to support attempted murder charges.
Sometimes a person’s intent to kill is indicated by the location of the injuries incurred by the alleged victim. Injuries on the upper body are more indicative of a person’s premeditated intent to murder. A person’s vital organs are located in their upper body. If the alleged victim’s injuries were in their lower body, your criminal attorney could argue that you only intended to injure and not kill the victim. That could cause the court to reduce your charges.
Some cases have no injuries at all, and prosecutors must rely on other evidence to sustain your intention to murder charges. In that case, the circumstances of the case will help the court understand the events and your intent.
A Direct Act Towards Murder
Your intent to murder alone is not enough to support attempted murder charges in Nevada. The prosecutor must demonstrate that you made direct action to accomplish the intent in court.
Direct action is more than simply planning to kill another person. It entails putting the whole plan into action. That would indicate that murder would have occurred had another factor not interfered.
A direct action towards murder or attempted murder could be:
Engaging the services of a hitman and even paying for the hitman to kill another person
Stabbing the person in the neck, head, or chest
Aiming a gun and shooting at the person
The prosecutor could also demonstrate to the court that you were well prepared for the act. For instance, you had bought or sharpened a knife, loaded your gun, or Googled ‘how to hire a hitman.’ However, preparations alone are not enough to support attempted murder charges. A direct act must accompany them.
Note that a direct action towards murder or attempted murder does not always involve physical contact with the alleged victim. You could still face attempted murder charges if you only planned for the killing, and you did something that put the plan into action, like sending the payment to a hitman.
If a victim of attempted murder finally succumbs to his/her injuries, the prosecutor will upgrade your charges from attempted murder to murder.
Example: Dan owes his long-time friend, Sam, money. But he left town without paying a dime. Sam has been trying to contact Dan over the years with no success. Recently, Dan was spotted in town, and Sam’s friends were kind enough to tell him of the new development. Sam planned to confront Dan over his disappearance and unpaid debt. He loaded his gun and headed for Sam’s home.
While there, an argument ensued between the two, and Sam lost his cool. He pointed his gun at Dan. Dan tried to run for the door but fell hard after Sam shot at him, aiming for the head. Luckily, someone quickly called an ambulance, and Dan survived.
Sam is guilty of attempted murder. His intention, from his actions, was to kill Dan. Luckily, Dan did not die. However, if Dan succumbed to his head injuries, Sam could face even graver charges for murder.
Penalties for a Nevada Attempted Murder Conviction
Attempted murder is a Category B felony in Nevada, except in cases where the offender used poison. (We will discuss this in greater detail below). A Category B felony conviction carries a prison sentence of two to twenty (a minimum of two years and a maximum of twenty years in prison).
Category B felonies are the second most severe felonies in the state.
You could receive additional penalties, including one year to twenty years, under the following circumstances:
You used a dangerous weapon to accomplish the offense
The victim of your attack was an elder of over 60 years
However, the additional sentence must not exceed the sentence you receive for the underlying offense.
Example: Andy is convicted for attempting to murder his 69-year old uncle. The judge sentences him to 15 years in prison. Andy is subject to a sentence enhancement since his uncle is an elder of over 60 years. Thus, he can receive an enhanced sentence of not more than 15 years (the penalty for the underlying offense).
If the judge imposed the full sentence for the underlying offense, the sentence enhancement would not exceed 20 years in prison.
Note: An attempted murder offense in Nevada does not carry the death penalty.
Additional Consequences of Nevada Attempted Murder
Criminal penalties for an attempted murder conviction are severe in Nevada. In addition to those, you will likely face other consequences, like immigration consequences.
Attempted murder carries serious immigration consequences in Nevada. It means that you could be deported after a conviction if you are not a citizen of the U.S but are living in Nevada. It is because murder is listed as a crime of moral turpitude. It is also an aggravated felony, both of which call for immediate deportation after conviction.
If you are not already living in the country, you will be marked as inadmissible to the United States. That would impact all your efforts to gain entry into the U.S.
Attempted Murder Through Poisoning
Poisoning carries a more severe charge in Nevada. Therefore, attempted murder through poisoning will be a category A felony, punishable by:
Life imprisonment with a possibility of parole after five years, or
Fifteen years of prison time with a possibility of parole after five years
The law against attempting to take the life of another through poisoning in Nevada is under NRS 200.390. You could face charges under this law if you willfully and maliciously administer poison or cause another person to administer poison to someone, intending to kill that person. As used under this law, the poison would be any destructive or noxious liquid or substance.
How To Fight Attempted Murder Charges in Nevada
A conviction for attempted murder in Las Vegas will alter several aspects of your life. But fighting your charges could help you avoid the severe consequences of a sentence. An experienced criminal attorney could help you with that. Several defense strategies are available that a competent attorney can use to compel the court to drop or reduce your charges successfully. The aim is to weaken the prosecutor’s case or bring in more compelling evidence in your favor.
The most common of these strategies are:
You Were Defending Yourself or Another Person
It is not unusual to seriously injure another person while defending yourself or another person. Self-defense is a widely accepted strategy for most violence-related offenses in Nevada. If you face imminent danger, you will likely do everything possible to avoid being hurt or losing your life. If that is the case, the court should drop your attempted murder charges.
However, simply stating that you were defending yourself or another person is not enough to compel a Las Vegas judge to drop your charges. Your attorney must demonstrate it to the court.
For instance, it could be that the alleged victim acted violently towards you or another person, and you had to act the way you did to protect yourself or the other person. But, the judge will want to know the nature of the danger you faced to have acted the way you did.
Example: Sarah is accosted by two men on her way from work one night. Unknown to her assailants, Sarah is a karate teacher. One man draws a gun and points it at Sarah, demanding her wristwatch and purse. Sarah manages to fight the men and takes possession of the firearm. She fires one shot to scare them, but it hits one man on his right shoulder.
Ordinarily, Sarah could face attempted murder charges for shooting a man on his shoulder. But the judge will drop her charges since she was acting in self-defense.
You Did Not Intend to Kill
Intent to kill is a crucial element of this offense. Without intent, you will not be guilty as charged.
A person’s intent is the most challenging to prove by Nevada prosecutors. It is difficult for a person to know or even imagine what is in the mind or heart of another. Prosecutors rely on the circumstances of a case to demonstrate intent to kill. However, it does not mean that they are right.
You can challenge the prosecutor’s case by convincing the jury that you did not intend to kill the person in the first place. Causing a person to incur severe bodily injuries does not automatically mean that you intended to kill them.
A surveillance video from the accident scene could enable the court to understand how it all happened. You can also use eyewitness accounts to support your claims. If the prosecutor fails to prove your charges beyond reasonable doubts, the court will drop your charges.
You Did Not Attempt To Kill
You could not be guilty of attempting to kill a person if you did not do anything to accomplish the murder. You could have been arrested for merely planning a person’s murder, which is not enough to support attempted murder charges. Remember that the second element of this offense requires you to have made a direct action towards the execution of the crime. If that immediate action is missing in your case, then you will not be guilty.
For instance, telling your friends your plan to murder someone is not enough to support attempted murder charges. But if you went ahead to point a gun or another dangerous weapon at the person, you could be guilty under this statute.
Find a Competent Las Vegas Criminal Attorney Near Me
Are you or your loved one facing attempted murder charges in Las Vegas?
Attempted murder is a grave offense, attracting hefty penalties upon conviction. That is why you need competent legal help to navigate the legal system and fight your charges. A skillful criminal attorney will employ the best defense strategies to cause the judge to drop or reduce your charges. At The Law Offices of Martin Hart, our team of skilled and experienced criminal lawyers will plan a strong defense against your charges. Call us at 702-380-4278, and let us help you obtain a fair outcome of the case.