Attempted Murder


Attempted Murder is a felony in Nevada. The legal definition of attempted murder in Nevada is “the performance of an act which tends, but fails, to kill a human being, when such acts are done with . . . the deliberate intention unlawfully to kill.”  (Keys v. State, 104 Nev. 736, 766 P.2d 270 (1988))

Therefore for someone to be convicted of attempted murder in Nevada, the prosecution has to prove two key elements:

  1. the defendant intended to kill the would-be-victim, and
  2. the defendant took at least one direct step towards accomplishing the killing

Merely intending to injure does not make you liable for attempted murder . . . the D.A. must prove you meant to kill.  In cases where there was a physical fight for instance, the D.A. would argue that any wounds you allegedly inflicted on the victim’s head or chest are evidence of intent to kill because of its proximity to vital organs.

Similarly, simply planning a homicide would not qualify as an attempted murder in Nevada law.  The defendant would have had to put the plan into action.  Examples of attempted murder include paying a hitman to kill someone, or shooting at someone who then dodges the bullet.


Attempted murder is a category B felony in Nevada.  The punishment is 2 to 20 years in Nevada state prison.

Additional penalties of 1 to 20 years will be imposed if the defendant used a deadly weapon or if the would-be victim was sixty or older.  But this enhanced sentence may not be longer than the underlying sentence for attempted murder.


If you have been arrested for or charged with attempted murder, seek the counsel of a Reno criminal defense attorney with experience fighting violence and homicide related cases. We have successfully defended thousands of violence cases.

There are numerous defenses for attempted murder, including lack of self defense, you did not attempt to kill and it was not your intent to kill. Lee knows all the defenses and can help you get the charges dismissed and can help you get the charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense like assault.

If you have been arrested for attempted murder, you deserve an experienced criminal defense attorney who will personally handle your case. Call Reno Nevada Law attorney Lee Hotchkin (775) 786-5791 – it’s what we do!