Being charged or investigated for attempted murder could potentially bring about a maximum prison sentence of life if you are found guilty of the crime. However, the severity of a prison sentence for attempted murder can vary greatly, depending on a variety of different factors contributing to the case.

Whether you suspect you are going to be investigated for attempted murder, or if you know someone who has been charged with this crime, it’s crucial to be aware of and to understand what the charges could entail. Read our definitive guide for detailed information concerning attempted murder sentences in the UK and what factors could influence them.

Attempted murder defined

Attempted murder in the UK is defined as an offence committed by a person who, at the time, has the intention to kill and not just cause grievous bodily harm.

The Criminal Attempts Act 1981 states that attempted murder is “more than merely preparatory”. This means that simply preparing to commit the crime is not sufficient enough to be classed as attempted murder. This is also one of the main differences of being charged with attempted murder, rather than murder. To be charged with murder, there needs to be an intent to cause grievous bodily harm or intent to kill.

Attempted murder sentencing guidelines

What is the minimum sentence for attempted murder?

There are three levels of sentencing for attempted murder, based on the seriousness of the offence. Level 1 is the most severe and Level 3 has the lower sentencing range.

 

Nature of attempted murder Sentencing starting point for attempted murder Sentencing range for attempted murder
Level 1

This is the most serious level of attempted murder and also includes those charged with murder.

Serious or long-term physical or psychological harm 30 years sentence 27-35 years sentence
Some physical or psychological harm 20 years sentence 17-25 years sentence
Little to no physical or psychological harm 15 years sentence 12-20 years sentence
Level 2

Other planned attempt to kill  

Serious or long-term physical or psychological harm 20 years sentence 17-25 years sentence
Some physical or psychological harm 15 years sentence 12-20 years sentence
Little to no physical or psychological harm 10 years sentence 7-15 years sentence
Level 3

Other spontaneous attempt to kill

Serious or long-term physical or psychological harm 15 years sentence 12-20 years sentence
Some physical or psychological harm 12 years sentence 9-17 years sentence
Little to no physical or psychological harm 9 years sentence 6-14 years sentence

 

What is the maximum sentence for attempted murder?

Attempted murder carries the maximum sentence of life imprisonment, which is the same as the penalty for murder.

If you’re facing charges of attempted murder, there are aggravating and mitigating factors which can affect the severity of the offence and the length of your sentence.

Aggravating factors

  • The vulnerability of the victim such as age or disability
  • Inflicting physical or mental suffering on the victim
  • Abusing a position of trust
  • Threatening or using duress against another person to facilitate the commission of the offence
  • If the victim was providing a public service or performing a public duty

Mitigating factors

  • If the offender suffers from mental disabilities or disorders, lowering their degree of culpability
  • The offender was provoked, such as prolonged stress
  • The offender was acting to any extent in self-defence
  • The age of the offender

Seek expert criminal defence advice

If you or someone you know is currently facing an attempted murder charge, or if there’s the possibility of a charge it’s vital that you seek legal representation from specialist solicitors for murder charges. Not only will they be able to provide a strong defence during court proceedings, but they will also be able to liaise with authorities regarding your potential sentence.

At Carter Moore, our team of expert criminal defence solicitors are here to provide legal advice and assistance. Contact us today to see how we can help you with your defence and achieve the best outcome for your attempted murder case.