Conspiracy to commit murder or attempted murder involves an agreement by two or more persons to commit murder, as well as an intention to carry out their plan. The violent act itself does not have to be committed, nor do any steps have to be taken to carry out the murder. All that is required is proof of an agreement to kill the intended victim. Many times proof of the conspiracy is derived from wiretaps, and nowadays, via emails, text messages, etc. Believe-it-or-not, people who talk about planning a murder by phone may also use other forms of media to communicate their dastardly deeds to avoid such cases like attempted murder.
Charges for attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder demand the attention of a highly skilled and experienced lawyer. With conviction, you face significant jail time, fines and a criminal record that could affect your future. Your choice of a lawyer could affect your life for years to come. As with any serious and complex case we work in teams to defend our clients and ensure that every possible piece of evidence is carefully analyzed.
The offence of attempted murder is set out in Section 239 of the Criminal Code of Canada which reads as follows:
239 (1) Every person who attempts by any means to commit murder is guilty of an indictable offence and liable
Attempted murder, then, is someone who has intent to commit murder and engages in actions for the purpose of carrying out murder. There mere thought of committing murder is not enough. The person must have actively tried to carry out their plan. The Criminal Code does not describe specific actions that would constitute attempted murder. Instead, the Courts will look at all the evidence in the case, including factors such as the presence of a motive and purchase and possession of a weapon, to determine whether the accused attempted to commit murder.
A conviction for attempted murder carries a maximum possible sentence of imprisonment for life, and, if committed with a restricted or prohibited firearm in connection with organized crime, a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years in prison, or, if committed with any type of firearm, a minimum sentence of 4 years in prison. If the sentence is imprisonment for life, the accused will be eligible to apply for parole after 7 years imprisonment.
There may be several legal defenses to attempted murder. Common legal defenses for attempted murder include:
Lack of Intent: The most common legal defense for attempted murder is that the prosecution cannot prove the defendant’s intent to kill beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, an intent to inflict harm or cause serious injury is not the intent to kill.
Defenses: Just as with murder, certain defenses can excuse, or mitigate attempted murder charges. Self defense or defense of another is a complete defense to attempted murder. If you believe your life, or the life of someone else is in danger, and you act in self defense of the defense of another, you are not guilty of the criminal of attempted murder. The key is that belief must be reasonable.
Renunciation: This defense provides that even though the accused committed at least one direct step, the accused later decided not to commit the murder. Unlike showing that the prosecution failed to adequately prove one of the elements, the accused must prove that the crime was abandoned because the defendant intentionally stopped any and all efforts to continue it or took steps to prevent the murder from occurring.
Mistaken Identity: Mistaken identity is certainly a defense, but a solid alibi is required and that will hopefully show the defendant present in another location at the same time as the offense. Credible witnesses are helpful, as are private investigators to interview witnesses and gather recorded statements.
The crime of attempted murder is very serious and law surrounding it is complicated. You need an attorney with a proven track record, and the knowledge and experience to guide your case through the criminal justice system. If you are facing charges of attempted murder, you should immediately contact a well qualified and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in your area. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to inform you of your legal rights, as well as ensure that your rights are protected through the entire criminal process.
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