Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Defending Against Attempted Murder Charges in Massachusetts

A man in Boston was recently arrested in connection with a stabbing. The arrest occurred when law enforcement found a man in his late 20s with stab wounds. While the man initially refused medical attention, he was later sent to a nearby hospital with injuries that were not believed to be life threatening. Law enforcement claims that a suspect was then identified and arrested at a hospital where he had sought treatment for a laceration. The man who was arrested now faces a number of charges including attempted murder. Because a conviction for attempted murder in Massachusetts results in serious penalties, a person in the state who is facing these charges should understand some important details about how these charges are raised.

What is an Attempted Crime?

The Massachusetts law concerning attempted crime states that these offenses can result in serious penalties. Attempted murder is a crime in which a person’s guilt depends on the person’s intentions. To convict a person of attempted murder, prosecution must establish that an individual had the specific intent to kill and acted with malice. In cases involving attempted murder, malice refers to the lack of an excuse, justification, or mitigation to commit the murder.

The Overt Action Requirement

In Massachusetts, to convict a person of attempted murder, the prosecution must establish that the defendant’s actions constituted an overt act, which is a physical action that a person could reasonably expect to create a series of events that would result in the crime. In cases of attempted murder, this overt action is one designed to result in death and committed with the intent that death occur. It is important to understand that an overt act does not require preparation or solicitation. Some of the actions that are often interpreted as representing overt actions include the following:

  • Breaking into a home with the intent to kill the victim

  • Making efforts to lure the victim to an isolated location where the murder will occur.

  • Purchasing a firearm or bomb to be used to kill the individual.

  • Tracking or stalking the intended victim by hiding out and observing the victim or following the victim with the intent to commit the murder.

Defenses to Attempted Murder in Massachusetts

It is often difficult for prosecution in Massachusetts to convict a person of attempted murder. The offense is most often used when a person is charged with simple assault or domestic assault and prosecution wants to utilize a more serious charge. One of the strongest defenses that can be raised in response to attempted murder charges is that a person lacked malice or did not have the necessary intent for attempted murder.

Contact a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one faces criminal charges in Massachusetts, you should not hesitate to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact attorney Edward R Molari today to schedule an initial free consultation during which time we will review your various available options to respond to these charges.