Attempted Murder Lawyers2024-05-27T10:42:32+00:00

Attempted Murder

With a possible maximum punishment of life imprisonment, there is no question that an attempted murder charge is a serious one. A lawyer can assist you in all aspects of the criminal process while you deal with this charge.

What Is Attempted Murder?

You can be charged with attempted murder if you attempt to cause the death of the complainant. In other words, you must have intended for that person to die, and you acted the way you did in an attempt to kill them. For example, if you shoot a person with a firearm, the elements of attempted murder can be made out. Even driving your car into a crowd full of people can also be considered attempted murder.

Attempt vs Preparation?

An attempt is one step further than preparation. The criminal charge for attempted murder begins after the preparation is complete and the accused actually begins to perform acts with the intention to kill the complainant.

Attempted Murder Charges

When laying charges for attempted homicide, the police and the Crown conduct a very thorough investigation. It often involves surveillance videos, seizure and evaluation of weapons used, analyzing medical documents on the victim’s injuries and interviewing multiple witnesses, among other measures. The disclosure of evidence can include thousands of pages of transcripts from videos, recordings and police notes.

In pursuing the attempted murder charges, the prosecution needs to prove that the offender had a deliberate intent to kill someone. Unlike homicides, an intent to cause someone harm that is likely to cause death, or being reckless about whether such harm can lead to death, is not enough for an attempted murder conviction.

When establishing intent, the investigators will examine injuries and whether they can be used as evidence. Examples include gunshot wounds to the head, stab wounds to the chest and similar injuries. Likewise, the accused’s threats to kill or the hiring of someone for killing can constitute sufficient evidence of intent for proceeding to trial.

At Vilkhov Law, our criminal defence lawyers will review the charges against you, examine the evidence and run our own investigation, including interviewing witnesses. Given the gravity of the sentence, the founding partner and principal lawyer of our firm, Igor Vilkhov, personally handles all attempted murder cases from beginning to end, leveraging years of experience in criminal investigation and trial work.

Attempted Murder Sentence in Ontario

The maximum sentence for attempted murder is life in prison. Meanwhile, the minimum sentence depends on a range of factors, including whether the offence was committed with a non-restricted, restricted or prohibited firearm, whether it was a first, second or subsequent offence and other circumstances, as outlined in Section 239 (1) of the Criminal Code. 

As a result, the range of minimum sentences for attempted murders is between four to seven years, depending on the circumstances of the offence.

In determining if someone accused of attempted murder using a firearm has committed a second or subsequent crime, the following acts are considered as the earlier offence, increasing the minimum penalty to 7 years:

  • previous attempted murder,
  • using a firearm or its imitation in the commission of an offence,
  • discharging a firearm with intent to cause injuries, prevent lawful arrest or detention,
  • discharging a firearm in a reckless manner,
  • causing death through criminal negligence,
  • unlawful act of manslaughter,
  • sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm,
  • aggravated sexual assault,
  • kidnapping or trafficking in persons,
  • robbery,
  • extortion.

Meanwhile, if someone is convicted for an earlier offence 10 years prior to the crime for which the sentence is imposed, such offence is not taken into consideration when deciding upon the sentence. 

Defence Strategy for Attempted Murder Charges in Toronto and the GTA

At Vilkhov Law, we know that no two criminal cases are the same and that achieving the best possible outcome requires a tailored strategy. Below are a few common defences mentioned only as an example of various strategies which can be applied for combating attempted murder charges:

  • raising a reasonable doubt about any element of the Crown’s case,
  • challenging the investigation following the arrest conducted in violation of the Charter,
  • absence of intent to kill someone,
  • acting in self-defence.

After reviewing the evidence, your attempted murder lawyer will adapt these and other relevant strategies to your individual circumstances to help you achieve the best possible outcome in the criminal case.

Arrest and bail for attempted murder

When you are arrested in Ontario, the police must inform you of your Charter rights to remain silent and to retain a lawyer. It is always a good idea to exercise these rights, refrain from making any statements to the police or answering any questions and contact an attempted murder lawyer in Toronto immediately.

Due to the serious nature of the attempted murder charges, you will be kept in custody pending a bail hearing. The police have to bring you in front of the judge within 24 hours of the arrest or as soon as possible. Your lawyer will advise you on your options and start working on your release while you remain in custody.

In Canada, everyone has a constitutional right to reasonable bail and cannot be denied it without “just cause.” Since attempted murder is a serious offence, the Crown will contest your release, and your lawyer will address the arguments of the prosecution, demonstrating that your detention is not justified.

When considering release on bail, the court will determine the amount of bail to be paid by sureties and any relevant restrictions to be imposed to ensure you attend hearings and do not commit further offences. These measures can include supervision through sureties, house arrest, ankle monitoring, mandatory counselling, no-contact orders and other restrictions as deemed necessary by the court. 

Obtaining bail in attempted murder cases can be an uphill battle. Hiring a lawyer early in the process is essential to avoid mistakes in the criminal process and maximize your chances of release on bail under less stringent terms.

Pre-trial appearances in attempted murder cases

After the bail hearing, your lawyers will continue working on your defence. As the first step, they will request a full disclosure of evidence against you from the Crown. Since there are certain elements of the disclosure that the prosecution only releases to a legal counsel, retaining a lawyer comes with the benefit of having all the information about your case and using it for your defence.

After reviewing all evidence, your lawyer will participate in Crown pre-trial (CPT) and Judicial (JPT) pre-trial meetings to negotiate with the prosecution and the judge. If you retain a lawyer, you do not have to appear during CPT and JPT meetings in person, while your lawyers can draw upon their experience and advocate for you inside and outside the courtroom.

In attempted murder cases, you will be asked to make the election of the court whether you choose to be tried in the provincial court or in the Superior Court by judge alone or by jury. You will also be entitled to a preliminary inquiry where the court will determine if the prosecution has sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. The assistance of your lawyer at this stage is indispensable to make a strategic choice of the mode of trial and maximize your chances of mitigating the charges.

Consequences of conviction for attempted murder

If someone is found guilty of attempted murder in Canada, they can face up to a lifetime in prison. If they used a restricted or prohibited firearm to commit an offence, there would be a minimum mandatory sentence of five years for the first offence and seven years for the second offence. If they used a non-restricted firearm, the minimum offence is four years of confinement.

In addition to sentencing, convicted offenders will be subject to a weapon prohibition order. Also, a conviction for attempted murder goes with a DNA order, which requires the offender’s DNA sample to be kept in the National DNA Data Bank (NDDA). Although it is possible to contest DNA order, the courts rarely satisfy such claims due to the seriousness of the offence.

Similar to other criminal offences, a conviction for attempted murder is followed by a criminal record. The criminal record for attempted murder can lead to multiple negative repercussions for employment, housing, social and other opportunities and can only be expunged upon application after 10 years from the date of completing the sentence.

It Is Important to Hire Attempted Murder Lawyer for Charges Dropped

Facing charges for attempted murder in Ontario can be a stressful and disruptive experience with far-reaching consequences, with a maximum sentence of lifetime imprisonment. Involving an experienced lawyer early can make all the difference to the outcome of the criminal case and help mitigate the charges.

An attempted murder defence lawyer can be instrumental in:

  • ensuring your Charter rights were observed during arrest and investigation,
  • facilitating your release on bail with less restrictive conditions,
  • obtaining full disclosure of evidence the prosecution has against you,
  • analyzing the evidence and interviewing witnesses,
  • negotiating with the Crown and the court during pre-trial appearances,
  • choosing the mode of trial to maximize your chances of mitigating the charges,
  • raising reasonable doubt on the prosecution’s case,
  • choosing the most effective defence and adapting it to your individual circumstances,
  • advocating for you during the trial to obtain the most favourable possible outcome.

We have provided general information about how attempted murder cases are handled, but every criminal case needs an individual plan of action. Still, when researching what is the charge for attempted murder in Canada and the consequences of conviction, the best strategy always is to reach out to a criminal law firm for a free consultation. Please do not hesitate to contact Vilkhov Law firm to learn more about your legal options and available defences.

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How many years for attempted murder charges in Toronto?2024-05-23T20:27:31+00:00

The minimum sentence for attempted murder in Toronto ranges from 4 to 7 years, depending on whether it was the first, second or subsequent offence, whether the restricted or prohibited firearm was used and other circumstances as outlined in Section 239 (1) of the Criminal Code. The maximum sentence for this offence is lifetime imprisonment.

What is the difference between frustrated murder and attempted murder?2024-05-23T20:26:53+00:00

The Criminal Code of Canada defines attempted murder as an offence where someone attempts to cause death to another person. In Canada, there is no definition for ‘frustrated murder’ in the criminal law. The term ‘frustrated murder’ is sometimes used informally to describe an attempt to kill someone where the victim survived because of medical intervention or other reasons.

What is the sentence for attempted murder in Ontario?2024-05-23T20:26:11+00:00

The maximum attempted murders sentence is imprisonment for life. Meanwhile, the minimum mandatory sentence ranges from 4 to 7 years, depending on whether the criminal act constitutes the first or second offence, as well as depending on the use of restricted or prohibited firearms.

What is the law for attempted murder in Canada?2024-05-23T20:25:32+00:00

The offence of attempted murder is defined in Section 239 of the Criminal Code. According to the law, attempted murder is an offence where someone attempts to cause the death of a human being by using a non-restricted, restricted or prohibited firearm or any other means.

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