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What is the sentence for Attempted murder in 2024?

The offence of attempted murder is a crime that is taken very seriously in UK law. The crime is defined as being an intention and activity to kill somebody, but the murder either failed or was aborted.

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In a case of this nature, the prosecution will need to prove that the offence happened. They will want to demonstrate that the accused intended to and acted on that intention to murder another.

Attempted murder is a significant offence. There is a hefty penalty handed to those who are found guilty and convicted. Depending on what was planned, what happened and what the outcome was, there could be several years of prison involved or life imprisonment.

We’ve put together some of the questions that our clients typically ask when accused of attempted murder. You will find the answers below. If you don’t see the information that you need, then you can call us for further details. We are happy to help you, and there is no obligation to use our service in exchange for free advice.

It’s important to note that by hiring a highly experienced, determined and astute solicitor, it can be possible to avoid getting a prison sentence or getting it reduced.

Have you been charged or arrested for attempted murder? 

As with any offence, taking early action to secure the help of a knowledgeable and experienced solicitor is essential. The earlier you seek legal advice, the more likely the outcome of your case will be improved.

Once the police investigation, arrest or charge you, you must have a competent attempted murder lawyer with you. You’ll be taken into a meeting room and interviewed about your ‘side of the story’. The questions will cover dates, conversations, movements and activities. With a lawyer by your side, guiding your answers, you’ll fare much better than if you were left to handle matters by yourself.

The trouble with being interviewed by the police is that their main goal is to attain a conviction. The police force uses many tactics to ensure that they achieve their goals. One of their tactics is to withhold evidence. You won’t know what they know, and they will go all out to try to get you to trip yourself up on the details.

What type of actions are involved in an attempted murder?

Attempted murder is when there are an intention and an action to murder somebody. However, the attempt either fails or is aborted partway through.

Examples of this might be:

The case of Lord Lucan when the offender killed the nanny as opposed to Lady Lucan – in this case, it would be attempted murder of Lady Lucan and murder of the nanny.

In some cases, attempted murder is the preparation to kill a person, rather than killing them.

What is the average sentence for attempted murder?  

Considered to be a grave offence in law, if found guilty and convicted of this crime, the maximum sentence is life imprisonment.

The offender is likely to stay in prison until release which will be decided by the Parole Board, at which point they will be under licence for the rest of their life.

What are some of the mitigating factors that might reduce the attempted murder sentence?

Certain aspects of a case are known as the mitigating factors which can influence the sentence that a judge gives. One of the factors judges consider in every case of this nature is the defendant’s level of genuine remorse.

The following are some of the other factors considered when the Court decides which sentence to give. They will look at:

  • Any previous conviction
  • Your level of remorse
  • Your level of cooperation with the investigation
  • Whether the activity you took part in was initially legitimate
  • Your reputation / good character
  • Whether you have any severe medical conditions that require long term, urgent or intensive treatment
  • Whether you have a learning disability or a mental disorder
  • Whether you are the sole or primary carer for related dependents

Is it possible to reduce a sentence for attempted murder with a guilty plea?

In recent years, several changes have been made to the sentencing system in the UK to save the court time and cost and to protect witnesses from the stress of needlessly going through a trial. For offenders aged 18 and over, pleading guilty early on in a case can reduce a sentence by as much as one third (maximum). The later the plea is entered, the smaller the reduction.

‘Early on’ refers to ‘the first stage of the proceedings’ and means anytime up to and including the first hearing at the Magistrates Court or Crown Court for indictable offences.

If a plea is entered 14 days after the first hearing, for example, the maximum level of reduction is just 20% or one-fifth of the sentence. For indictable offences, the limit for a guilty plea to be made is within 28 days after the prosecutor has stated compliance with section 3 of CPIA 1996 and serving disclosure; although the decision is ultimately in the hands of the Judge who has the discretion to apply whatever credit is deemed appropriate.

After these times, there is a sliding scale of credit applied. This goes down to one-tenth on the first day of the trial and to zero if entered during the course of the trial. In theory, the 10 per cent could be given if the plea is issued after the opening speeches on the first day, but prior to any witness evidence being heard.

If the accused does not want to plead guilty, then it’s essential for the solicitor to regularly inform the Court throughout the trial of the reasons why the client’s plea is not guilty.

What are some of the other consequences of the attempted murder offence?

Ancillary Orders

A court can also make ancillary orders on a defendant if they are found guilty and convicted of an attempted murder offence. These are extra elements of punishment that can be added to a sentence and include additional restrictions or requirements that can affect a dependent’s finances, your property or business or financial activity.

Ancillary orders that are typically added to the penalty for those who are found to be guilty of attempted murder include:

  • Compensation for loss
  • Restraint orders
  • Reparation orders
  • Being on licence
  • Confiscation orders

As part of your investigation, you may also have your assets frozen with the possibility of having cash or other assets seized.

Besides, the Court may demand payment of the following if the accused is convicted:

Payment of costs applied for by the prosecutors

Although the police meet some of the costs involved in the prosecution, the costs of investigation are typically sought from the convicted. These may include the costs of:

  • The work done in obtaining enough evidence for prosecution either at the initial stage or later at the request of Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
  • Seeking medical or expert evidence as part of the investigation, (where a witness is required to attend Court, the cost of the attendance falls on the CPS).
  • Re-interviewing witnesses
  • The entire costs of the prosecutor, including fees for the use of external Barristers used by the CPS, can be recovered from the defendant, subject to means. At the end of the case, the prosecutor under The Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 will request the Judge to order a sum to be paid for the costs incurred by the prosecutor in bringing the prosecution.

Victims surcharges

The term ‘victims’ surcharges; can be explained as paying compensation to a fund for victims and can range between £20 to £170 depending on what sentence you were given at conviction.

How sentences can be added to national information databases

Several national databases hold information about individuals and any allegations made about them, their criminal and court records. These include the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) which was previously known as the CRB (Criminal Record Bureau) and the Police National Computer (PNC).  Depending on what happened, whether the accused is convicted and what sentence was issued, the accused may be added to one or all these databases. Their purpose is to provide information to potential employers and to regulate the ability to take part in certain activities.

If your case progresses to Court and you are convicted of attempted murder, your conviction will be noted on your CRB / police record. The period of the endorsement will depend on the nature and length of your sentence.

Below are details on how long you will be listed as holding a criminal record if convicted. This is something dire to consider when it comes to future employment. The term ‘spent’ refers to when your name can be removed from the databases. Bear in mind that the table below is relevant for non-specified offences; serious offences like attempted murder will never be spent, and will always remain on record.

Rehabilitation Period
(the time it takes for the sentence to become ‘spent’)
Sentence Adult (aged 18+) at time of conviction Young person (aged under 18) at time of conviction
Prison sentences of more than 4 years Sentence length+7 years Sentence length+3.5 years
Prison sentences of more than 1 year but less than 4 years Sentence length+4 years Sentence length+2 years
Prison sentences of less than 1 year Sentence length +1 year Sentence length +6 months
Conditional Discharge Length of order Length of order
Absolute Discharge None None
Conditional Caution 3 months 3 months
Simple Caution / Youth Caution None – immediately ‘spent’ None – immediately ‘spent’
Other Including Compensation Order, Supervision Order, Bind Over, Hospital Order Length of the order / once compensation is paid Length of the order / once compensation is paid

How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?

With more than thirty years of experience of defending murder and attempted murder cases, our expertise in this field of law is vast. A dedicated team supports anybody who we represent for these offences, made up of some of the most experienced legal minds working on their defence strategy.

Facing accusations of this nature is stressful for both the accused and their family members. We understand this and do what we can to provide support and updates on what the current situation is at all times.

Our recent successful attempted murder cases

We have secured acquittals in all manner of murder cases including allegations of murder, attempted murder, joint murder enterprise and manslaughter allegations.

Owing to the size, expertise and reputation of the firm, our criminal solicitors have access to the best QCs, Barristers and forensic analysts. They will work together to secure the best possible outcome for you. Since most murder allegations feature telephone and covert surveillance evidence, we are closely linked to masters of cell-site evidence and can call upon their talent to enhance the defence. We will gather witness statements on your behalf and tirelessly search for and present evidence which can win the case for us.

Arrest & Interview

The first you will hear about being involved in an attempted murder case is when the police contact you. You will be arrested and charged, or arrested and taken to the police station for questioning. It’s a time when you must make contact with a competent attempted murder lawyer.

The police may already have a lot of evidence on you, but may not show the entirety of their hand at this state. This is where the benefit of a good lawyer comes into play as they will demand to see all evidence they have on you.

An attempted murder lawyer who has experience and expertise in this offence will give you guidance on what to say and do when in police custody. The lawyer will work on your case so that whatever happens, you will get the best possible outcome. Stuart Miller Solicitors have decades of experience at defending attempted murder cases.

Would you like to discuss your case before instructing us?

For a no-obligation chat with us about your situation and case, please get in touch.

In addition to giving you a free consultation, we can also represent you at the police station if you’ve been arrested. We can look at securing your legal aid.

Use our contact form or call us on 0208 888 5225 or in an emergency on 07980 000 076. Our legal team are not only highly qualified and experienced in defending clients in attempted murder cases, but they are friendly and approachable. In addition to legal help, we also keep in mind that this is a tough situation in which you’ll need understanding and support.

Get in touch with us now for attempted murder legal help.

(This page was last updated on November 28, 2023.)


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