Attempted Murder vs. Aggravated Assault
Many people wonder what the differences are between charges of Aggravated Assault and charges of Attempted Murder. While they are obviously both very serious crimes, the elements of each offense are different. If you are charged with the crime of Aggravated Assault, it must be shown beyond a reasonable doubt that you attempted to cause—or did actually cause—serious bodily injury to another human being.
Facing Attempted Murder Charges in Pennsylvania
Learn about what attempted murder is in Pennsylvania and what to do if you or a loved one is facing accusations or criminal homicide charges. Facing attempted murder is a pivotable moment in a person’s life. Is it the time to reach out to an inexperienced criminal attorney or a former prosecutor who touts his convictions but lacks experience gaining murder acquittals? Before it’s too late, call our experienced Lancaster criminal defense lawyers. Facing third degree murder charges anywhere in Pennsylvania and need help, call the Ciccarelli Legal Team at (610) 692-8700.
Getting the Best Defense where you are facing Attempted Murder Charges
Reach out to the Ciccarelli Legal Team, when you are facing a third degree murder in the greater Philadelphia metro area, including Chester County, Bucks County, Delaware County, Lancaster County, Montgomery County and throughout Pennsylvania. Then ask yourself, why you are not calling now and scheduling a time to meet with Lee Ciccarelli. Call now at (610) 692-8700.
Our legal team of lawyers at Ciccarelli Law Offices is ready to fight for you. When the threat of prosecution for homicide and murder is real, you need to look for the best options and find a top murder defense team serving Chester County and beyond. Based in West Chester (Chester County) in the Philadelphia Metro Area, the Ciccarelli Legal Team defends the rights of murder and homicide defendants throughout Pennsylvania.
More Information about Attempted Murder and Aggravated Assault
Serious bodily injury means you caused a sufficient level of injury which could, realistically, lead to the risk of death, a significant loss or impairment of a body organ function, or permanent disfigurement. It must also be shown that your conduct was intentional, meaning you fully intended to cause serious bodily injury to another person. For a charge of Aggravated Assault to stand there does not necessarily have to be an actual injury, however it must be shown that you took a step which showed your intent to cause a life-threatening injury to another person.
Attempted Murder, on the other hand, requires that the prosecution show beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to kill another person—you had a fully formed intent to kill, and you were fully cognizant of your intent. Then it must also be shown—just as with Aggravated Assault—that you took concrete steps to kill the person. This means it must be proven that you specifically intended for the person you assaulted to die. As you can see, intent clearly makes the difference between Attempted Murder and Aggravated Assault charges, however intent can sometimes be a difficult concept to definitively prove.
Self-Defense an Important Defense Against Charges of Attempted Murder or Aggravated Assault
It is important, when charged with either Attempted Murder or Aggravated Assault, to be aware that one defense for either charge is self-defense. In other words, if you reasonably believed your own life or the life of another person was in danger, then you are allowed, under the law, to defend yourself. An assertion of self-defense could potentially go hand in hand with the Pennsylvania Castle Doctrine, which allows a person to defend his life, his home and loved ones in the home. Self-defense can be a powerful argument at trial if you are facing either Aggravated Assault or Attempted Murder charges.
Proving Attempted Murder Charges
To prove intent to commit Attempted Murder, the prosecution might seek to show you stalked or tracked the person, looking for an opportunity to kill him or her, or that you lured the other person to a specific area, with the intent to commit murder. You might also have broken into the home of the victim in order to commit the murder, or collected materials needed to commit the murder.
Finally, you could have hired another person to commit the murder. These actions would all show that you planned to commit a murder and made an attempt to commit the murder, even though that attempt was unsuccessful. There is generally not this level of premeditation in Aggravated Assault charges.
That being said, the absence of premeditation does not automatically preclude charges of Attempted Murder. As an example, perhaps an assault which happens in the heat of the moment leads to you making a serious attempt to kill another human being. As you can see, the line between Aggravated Assault and Attempted Murder is really very fuzzy. The penalties, however are very distinct from one another.
Penalties for Aggravated Assault vs. Attempted Murder in the State of Pennsylvania
Aggravated Assault is a first or second-degree felony, depending on who the offense was committed against. If the assault was against a police officer or firefighter a first-degree felony is charged, and, if convicted, you could face up to 20 years in prison. For an Aggravated Assault against anyone else, a second-degree felony is charged which carries a penalty of up to ten years in prison. If convicted of Attempted Murder—a first-degree felony—you could face up to 20 years in prison and significant fines.
There is no mandatory minimum sentence for a conviction of Attempted Murder unless you have prior convictions for “strike” offenses. If there was serious bodily injury involved, you are likely to receive a much stiffer sentence than if there was no serious bodily injury. Finally, if a deadly weapon was used in the attempted murder, a deadly weapon enhancement sentencing will come into play. This means that if you used a deadly weapon and if serious bodily injury was inflicted, even if you have no prior convictions, a recommended sentence in the range of 90 months all the way to the statutory limit can be expected. It is extremely important that you have an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney by your side from the very beginning, when you are charged. Both Aggravated Assault and Attempted Murder Charges are extremely serious, bringing very grave penalties.
Get The “Right Defense” When facing Pennsylvania Attempted Murder Charges
When you or a loved one is facing attempted murder allegations or charges, gain the benefit and experience of the Ciccarelli Legal Team. Ciccarelli Law Offices brings years of experience defending clients, demanding justice and fighting for acquittals. Our team is ready to represent you when you are facing homicide and murder charges in Pennsylvania. We are based in based in suburban Philadelphia and serve clients throughout Pennsylvania. Contact us at (610) 692-8700.