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Attempted Murder Statute of Limitations


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#1 luckygerm

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 10:15 PM

Hello there,


Don't worry, this is only for a book that I am writing.  But I need to find out if and what the statute of limitations is for attempted murder?  The story does take place in California.  The main character tries to kill his fiancee (who later becomes his wife) in an unanticipated rage.  I am stuck writing until I find out if the rest can hold plausibly.  I don't know if I should have the story take one twist, or another.  Does it matter if the two get married, and then divorced?  Can she charge him with attempted murder at any time?  Is there any statute of limitations for him trying to kill her, or is there no expiration on attempted as well as committed murder?  I would appreciate your help if you can.  Thank you!



#2 pg1067

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 02:46 AM

California criminal statutes of limitations can be found in section 799, et seq. of the Penal Code (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=pen&group=00001-01000&file=799-805).


"Does it matter if the two get married, and then divorced?"


No, although those facts may impact the wife's credibility as a witness.


"Can she charge him with attempted murder at any time?"


She cannot charge him at all.  Only a district attorney can charge a person with a crime.  All the wife can do is report the alleged crime to the police.



#3 luckygerm

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 04:34 AM

Thank you so much, I am sure.  I did check the www.leginfo.ca.gov website for the legislative codes in California.  When I read the Penal Code 799 and subsequential codes thereafter, I was unable to find any clear answer to my original interrog, however. 


I apologize for appearing dimwitted if that is the case, but when I read the section I was told had my answer, it stated that prosecution for any offense that results in a sentence of life in prison has no statute of limitations.  That doesn't tell me anything.  The following statutes discuss specific time limits for other offenses being maximum six years, then it goes down to within three years. 


I am unclear on if attempted murder would be punished the same as an actual committed murder.  The way the statute reads, it makes me think that an accomplished completed murder would have no statute of limitations.  If the person was not actually killed, then the Penal Code 799 would not be applicable, correct? 


Again, sorry for appearing mentally challenged, but I just didn't want to have to pay an attorney for a simple quick straightforward question in order to work on a chapter of this book which will probably stink anyways.  So I guess I can shoot this book down the crapper, going by all your assistance.  I cannot get an answer, so now what do I do?  I looked where you said.  You made me think.  I don't understand why it is so difficult to find this out without paying $350 to someone.  Nobody else posting questions is left without their question answered.... 


Should I rephrase it?  Is there a difference within the justice system in interpreting murder from attempted murder other than there being a dead body in the case of attempted and completed murder?  What's up California?



#4 pg1067

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 07:24 AM

Note that I said "799, et seq.," not just section 799.


Attempt crimes are covered in section 664 of the Penal Code.  Section 664(a) states as follows:



"If the crime attempted is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison, the person guilty of the attempt shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for one-half the term of imprisonment prescribed upon a conviction of the offense attempted.  However, if the crime attempted is willful, deliberate, and premeditated murder, as defined in Section 189, the person guilty of that attempt shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life with the possibility of parole.  If the crime attempted is any other one in which the maximum sentence is life imprisonment or death, the person guilty of the attempt shall be punished by
imprisonment in the state prison for five, seven, or nine years.  The additional term provided in this section for attempted willful, deliberate, and premeditated murder shall not be imposed unless the fact that the attempted murder was willful, deliberate, and premeditated is charged in the accusatory pleading and admitted or found to be true by the trier of fact."


Therefore, it depends on whether you're talking about murder under section 189 or some other type of murder (and, since you're writing a book, you can presumably make that call).






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