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Difference Between Frustrated Murder and Attempted Murder

If you’re involved in a murder trial, or just into true crime, then differentiating between frustrated murder and attempted murder can be vital in the outcome of the case. This is often a confusing area of the law, but various distinctions can help you better understand the two. Here’s what you need to know. 

Attempted Murder

This sentencing is one that most people understand. If you attempt to murder someone and fail, it counts as a felony crime. According to attorney Jeremy Rosenthal, the court will decide on a ruling of attempted murder when:

  • Someone takes action to kill another person
  • The action taken was intended to kill a person

While those two phrases sound about the same, the use of the word intention covers acts like hiring a hitman or poisoning. Stalking or luring someone to a place where murder is intended also counts, as does buying the necessary components to make a bomb. 

The act must also be able to kill a person. Even serious harm and disfigurement, when not meant to kill, do not count as attempted murder. Stabbing a person in the arm as opposed to the chest is an excellent example. 

Frustrated Murder

Adding frustrated to the word murder is where things begin to get complicated. Courts usually decide on this ruling by the severity of the wound. If you intended to kill someone but left a non-fatal wound, it would still be attempted murder. If the wound was serious enough to cause death without proper medical treatment, then it becomes a frustrated crime. 

To receive either distinction, the victim cannot die. Frustrated murder is often used to classify an attempt that was carried out but unsuccessful. Criminal defense attorneys often make the distinction based on both act and intent.  

Act and Intent

Imagine a scenario when the perpetrator plans to shoot their victim. They lure their victim to a secluded location, have the gun on their person, and are entirely ready to kill another person. Once they pull the gun out, they change their mind. This is an attempted murder. The intent to kill was there, but the person did not act on the intent. 

If the perpetrator shot their victim in the arm then ran away, it would also be attempted murder because the wound was non-fatal. They intended to kill their target but failed to do so. While the action is still there, the act wasn’t enough to kill the victim. 

Now, imagine that the perpetrator shoots their victim and leaves a fatal wound. The criminal flees, someone calls 911 after hearing the gun shot, and paramedics are able to save the victim. Since the person did not die, it isn’t a complete murder. Instead, it gets classified as a frustrated murder. The criminal tried and failed, but the injury would have killed their victim without intervention. 

Proving intent in court varies from case to case, but the distinction between attempted and frustrated  comes from the actions of the criminal. If you are involved in a murder trial, you should speak with your attorney about the difference between the two and how either might pertain to your case.