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OC Attempted Murder Defense Lawyer

Attempted Murder Arrest

If you or somebody you know have been arrested on attempted murder charges in Orange County or anywhere throughout Southern California, you need to contact Law Office of Michael L. Guisti at (714) 530-9690 immediately because this is a charge that could send you away to prison for life.

Why You Need to Call Our OC Defense Attorney Now

At Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, we know from our years of experience that the police and prosecution's evidence against you isn't as clear-cut as they make it out to be. With our seasoned insight, we can work with the DA's office to reduce charges, work out a plea bargain, have charges reduce from first-degree to second-degree, or even investigate police action that could result in having your case dismissed. We are able help you to deal with these charges because our legal team knows the Southern California court system.

Understanding the Crime of Attempted Murder

Under the Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instruction code 900, the prosecution must prove two things, that you took at least one direct step towards killing another person or fetus, and that you intended to kill that person or fetus.

Direct Step

A direct step is actually using the weapon to commit the crime or paying somebody to do it. Basically, if the suspect had fired a shot intending to kill the victim, but some kind of factor prevented the victim from dying such as intervention from the police, this would be attempted murder. It is not attempted murder if you were only in the planning stages; however, if you took that planning to the next step and tried to directly carry out the murder that is considered by the District Attorney to be attempted murder.

Intent to Kill

Amazingly, proving the intent to kill can be difficult for the District Attorney and prosecution, and if they can't prove you had the intent then there is no attempted murder charge. Many times it depends where the weapon struck the body. The prosecution will say if there were wounds on the upper body or the suspect was aiming at the upper body then the suspect clearly intended to kill the victim, because that is where the body's vital organs are located. However, if wounds or the intended target were on the victim's lower half of the body your defense attorney can argue that you were only intending to injure the victim, which you would back a much lesser charge. This is why it's best to contact our firm as soon as you're arrested, because our team can work to show such evidence to reduce your charges.

Intent to Kill a Certain Person

It may seem that if you accidentally "targeted" the wrong person you shouldn't be brought up on attempted murder charges since you didn't intend to murder that person; however, this is not a valid defense. Bottom line, in most cases attempted murder charges will be filed regardless if you intended to kill the said person.

"...Not only did Mr. Guisti get our son’s charge reduced from felony attempted murder to a minor misdemeanor, but he worked out a very affordable payment plan. What amazed me was Mr. Guisti and his legal staff actually took the time to get to know us and visited our son in jail many times. We highly recommend Michael, because he knows the law and understands the financial needs of hard working people, and we would hire him again if we had to."

Client's rating: 5 of 5

Potential Defense Strategies

You have defense options, some of which are complex, which is why you need to contact an experienced OC murder defense lawyer right away. Listed here are some common legal defenses our legal team has used—many of which have been successful in leading to acquittals.

Never Took the "Direct Step"

Let us say you bought the weapons, wrote down how you're going to kill the person, and even made plans on what to do with the body afterwards—as you never took the "direct step" in attempting to murder somebody, because you were caught or had a change of heart, you cannot be convicted of attempted murder. Bottom line, as long as you never performed the action, you shouldn't be charged.

Wrongly Accused

There are several situations where you could get wrongly accused. Perhaps the most common is if you or somebody you're closely associated with is in a gang. Even if you have nothing to do with the gang there have been cases where an innocent family member gets blamed for a crime. That aside, there are several other cases where your description, be it your car or person, fits that of the suspect.

If Convicted…

Attempted murder is covered under Penal Code (PC) 664, which means you usually face a sentence of half the time as opposed to a full sentence if you committed the crime all the way through.

  • First-Degree Attempted Murder: If convicted of first-degree attempted murder, you face a life sentence in the California state prison with the possibility of parole. If the first-degree attempted murder was committed against a peace officer, firefighter, or other protected person, you face the same sentence, but must serve a mandatory minimum 15-year sentence.
  • Second-Degree Attempted Murder: If convicted of second-degree attempted murder you face between five and nine years in a California State Prison sentence.

If convicted of attempted murder, regardless if it was first or second degree, you will have a "strike" added to your record per California's Three Strikes Law. You can also face the following: a maximum $10,000 fine, victim restitution and, per PC 12021, your loss of the right to own or possess a firearm.

Call Our Orange County Murder Attorneys Right Away

As you've read, this charge carries potential life in jail time, which is why you need to call the Orange County violent crime attorneys at Law Office of Michael L. Guisti right away. We can work with the DA's office to reduce charges, work out a plea bargain, have charges reduce from first-degree to second degree, or even investigate police action that could result in having your case dismissed.

Our goal is to win your case. Please, don't go at this alone—give us a call today.

Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.

(714) 530-9690

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Client Reviews

“It was strongly recommended that I call federal defense attorney Michael L. Guisti. He had several investigators look at records and such, and my federal case was dismissed. Michael Guisti does what few attorneys can do, beat the federal government, and that is why if you’re in trouble with the government you need to call Michael Guisti right away!”

- G.O. on


“I had everything to lose, my future, my education. Basically I did something that got me a misdemeanor, and the judge wanted to give a guilty plea. But Michael Guisti would not back down. Instead he fought for me, and now my record is clean.”

- Client on


“Back in 2003 I was facing attempted murder. My family hired Michael Guisti to represent me. He is a very good attorney. He always answered my calls, addressed my questions and concerns, and kept me updated about my case. Thank you Michael Guisti for winning my case. I highly recommend anyone facing a criminal charge to see Michael Guisti.”

- J.D. on


Case Results

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Case Dropped

Young man charged and arrested for sexual battery.


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Man charged with assault with a deadly weapon for hitting someone in the face with a heavy metal dust pan.

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Served Less Than 30 Days in Jail

Young man charged with selling 1000 tabs of ecstasy to undercover officer.

Attempted Murder

Reduced to Assault With Deadly Weapon

Young man knocks the eye out his victim with a metal pipe. Charged with attempted murder and aggravated mayhem. Both cases carried life sentences.

Assault & Battery

Serves 80 Days on Work Furlough

Woman arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon using scissors on a co-worker.

Vehicular Assault

Serves 80 Days on Work Furlough

Man charged with three felony counts of vehicular assault with a deadly weapon.