The Line between Felony Assault and Attempted Murder

Two people get into a gun fight and suddenly one is severely injured and the other is charged with attempted murder.

In another case, two individuals get into a bar fight and one is severely injured and the other is charged with felony assault.

So why was one charged with attempted murder and the other with felony assault?

First of all, the District Attorney decides on what the charge will be. The details of the altercation are looked at and the following constitutes felony assault:

  • Great bodily injury was inflicted on the other person on purpose.
  • Bodily injury was inflicted on the other person with a deadly weapon other than a firearm.
  • Bodily injury was inflicted on a police officer or a correctional facility employee

While attempted murder also involves deadly force with a deadly weapon, the type of weapon is looked at. If a person uses a gun, then they can be charged with attempted murder. In this case, the gun is the only difference between the two charges. However, attempted murder in Minnesota can include any of the following:

  • Stalking or tracking down a person in hopes for an opportunity to commit murder
  • Luring a victim to come to a specific place where it is possible for the victim to be murdered
  • Breaking in to the home or property where the victim is thought to be in order to commit murder
  • Collecting materials needed to commit the murder, such as obtaining the parts to create a bomb and attempting to put them together
  • Convincing someone else to commit the murder, such as having them plant a bomb

In this case, the difference between assault and attempted murder lies in the fact that there is planning, but the plan is not followed through with. The attempt to murder is made, whereas in assault there may be no premeditation.

But the absence of premeditation does not mean that a person cannot be charged with attempted murder, especially when an act of assault in the heat of the moment leads to a person trying to kill the other person. This proves how the line between felony assault and attempted murder can be thin or it can be rather thick.

It also shows how a person can be charged with attempted murder when murder was not the intention and that is why it is imperative for a person to contact their a St. Paul & Minneapolis criminal defense attorney who can draw that line between the two in order to obtain the best results in the case.

While a felony assault conviction can severely affect you for the rest of your life, an attempted murder conviction can lead to longer prison sentences and even more difficulty moving forward toward the future. A competent attorney can seek a reduction in a felony assault or attempted murder charge so that the penalties are reduced, thus giving you a better chance at moving beyond the charge sooner.