Indianapolis Murder Charges Defense Attorney
An accusation of murder or homicide is probably the most serious offense to be charged with in criminal law. No resource is spared on the part of law enforcement and prosecutors to investigate and prosecute an alleged murder. To be charged with the crime is an extremely serious matter that no one should face without experienced defense counsel. Some mistakenly believe that the crime of attempted murder is far less serious that the actual commission of the offense – however, a conviction for attempted murder rivals the severity of penalties as with a conviction for murder in Indiana. In fact, in other states, criminal statutes make no difference as to the types of penalties that they impose.
If you are facing an attempted murder charge in Indianapolis or anywhere in the Central Indiana area, you should seek the assistance of a seasoned criminal defense counsel, such as Chris Eskew of Eskew Law, LLC, immediately. You need an aggressive defense attorney at your side at the beginning of your case may help you reach a more favorable outcome later on.
Attempt Defined in Indiana Statutes
According to Ind. Code § 35-41-5-1, an individual attempt to commit a crime when, acting with the required intent, the person engages in conduct that may be considered a substantial step towards committing the crime in full. The Indiana Supreme Court states that a “substantial step” is any overt act that goes beyond mere preparation and in furtherance of the intent to commit the offense. In making the determination of whether this step was taken, the court states that juries have to focus on what acts have been completed, and not what remains to be done. In the case of attempted murder, the steps that have been completed must strongly corroborate the intent of the accused to commit murder. This may include:
- Lying in wait, searching for or following the intended victim;
- Enticing the intended victim to go to the place that the offender intended to commit the offense in;
- Surveilling the place contemplated for the crime;
- Illegal entry of a structure, vehicle, or enclosure in which the offender thought the crime should be committed;
- Possessing materials to be used in committing the crime that are especially designed for that unlawful use or can serve no lawful use for the offender under the circumstances;
- Possessing, collecting, or fabricating materials to be used in the crime at or near the place where he or she intended to commit the crime, if it serves no lawful purpose for him or her under the circumstances; or
- Soliciting an innocent person to engage in conduct that is an element of the crime.
The prosecution has to prove, as stated by the Indiana Supreme Court, that the defendant had a specific intent to kill in order to prove him or her liable for attempted murder. This includes the intent to carry out the required actions to commit murder, including the substantial step, and the intent to kill the targeted victim. Therefore, in order to be convicted, the state has to prove that the defended not only to maim, injure, frighten, or inflict pain to someone, but to actually kill him or her.
The twin elements of the required substantial step, and that specific intent to kill, are often the most vulnerable elements in a charge of attempted murder. Proving these two elements are often very challenging. Additionally, defendants may claim the defense of impossibility – that even if everything when according to the planned murder, the murder still would have taken place because it was impossible. Another defense, which is more difficult to claim, is withdrawal. With this defense, the defendant must prove that even though he or she committed to take at least one substantial step, he or she later decided not to commit the murder. To prevail using the defense, the defense must be able to show that the crime was abandoned because the defendant stopped efforts to move forward or took affirmative steps to prevent the killing from happening.
Uniquely, attempted murder is the only crime in Indiana criminal law where the attempt does not share the same penalties as the actual offense. Attempted murder is considered a Level 1 felony, punishable by a fixed prison term between twenty and forty years and a fine not exceeding $10,000 under Ind. Code § 35-50-2-4. In comparison, murder may carry a sentence of between forty-five and fifty-five years and occupies its own section of the sentencing statute.
If you were charged with attempted murder in Indianapolis or anywhere in the Central Indiana area, you must contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. It is a serious charge, and waiting before you seek legal assistance may be detrimental to achieving a favorable result. Call Eskew Law, LLC at (317) 974-0177 or submit our online consultation request form. We will review your case, conduct a thorough investigation, and help you determine the best strategy for an effective defense.