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My sister is being held for attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. Can the court find her guilty of both charges &

North Fork, CA |

what sort of time would she be looking at? She has just finished her pre preliminary hearing would we still have time to get her a defense attorney?

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Attorney answers 5


First parts of your question can not be answered by any attorney except one who has all of the relevant facts and circumstances at hand. Beyond the impossibility of answering the question, the question is way, way premature. She needs qualified criminal defense counsel to prepare her defense. Before anyone faces a judge for sentencing, the state has to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. An attorney at this stage should be doing everything possible to prevent that from happening. Defendants have the right to counsel, and generally counsel of their own choosing when they so choose. New counsel can be engaged pretty much without restriction unless the court concludes the defendant is attempting to delay the process by switching attorneys. If a change is to be made the saying, "sooner rather than later" applies.


Agreed. Defendants have to right to fire their attorney and retain new council at almost all phases. I'd add that multiple, seemingly overlapping charges is a tactic of the DA. If they don't prove one charge, they hope to be able to prove the other or, when a jury "splits the baby" they hope that the jury will convict on the lessor charge.

Thomas A. Schaeffer, Esq. Law Office of Juarez and Schaeffer PO Box 16216, San Diego, CA 92105 (619) 804-4327 This posting is provided for "informational purposes" only and should not be relied upon as "legal advice." Nothing transmitted from this posting constitutes the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. Applicability of the legal principals discussed here may differ substantially in individual situations or in different States.


Hopefully she has an attorney by now - if she is trying to do this by herself, she's not helping her cause. Yes she can be found guilty for both. Attempted murder, depending on the circumstances, can be up to life in prison.

Mr. Feasel is a former prosecutor in San Mateo County (CA) with over 10 years of criminal law experience. Nothing stated on this site shall in anyway be construed as legal advice, or as creating any attorney/client relationship. If you would like to hire Mr. Feasel to further investigate your situation, feel free to contact him thru this site.


The specific charge(s) she is convicted of, PLUS any enhancements found true will determine what she is looking at. For example, attempted murder carries a life sentence if it is alleged to have been done with premeditation & deliberation. If she used a weapon other than a firearm, that can add a year.if she inflicted great bodily injury, it could add 3 years. If she used a firearm, that can add 10 years for the "use" (even brandishing is "use"), 20 years if she fired it and 25-life if he fire it and caused great bodily injury.

As indicated, she could be found guilty of both the greater charge (attempted murder) and a lesser charge (assault) if the evidence supports it.

And finally - yes, she can get a new attorney at this point. If she has not yet had her preliminary hearing, now might be the time to get the attorney of her choice on the case. If the evidence is shown to be insufficient to support an intent to kill for the attempted murder charge, it dramatically changes the potential maximum she would face.

You need a good criminal defense attorney. I'd strongly suggest you find someone who focuses on criminal law and who routinely practices in the court where this case will be heard.

Please excuse any typos - posted via mobile device.

The above answer is for general information only and is based on the information you posted. Every case is fact dependent, so to get a thorough analysis of your situation, you will need to consult face to face with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the incident took place. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case.


It's not too late to speak with a private attorney if you wish to hire private counsel. Most judges are willing to allow private counsel to substitute in any time before trial, but I suggest you contact someone as soon as possible so that they can properly prepare before trial. It appears as though the attorneys above have answered your question re: the exposure your sister faces. It is possible to be convicted of both charges, and in some cases, punished for both. Without knowing the facts of the case, I can't advise you whether it would be possible in your sister's case (in some cases the assault and attempted murders would be "alternative charges" for the same act). Madera is a very unique county to practice in-- you should definitely look for someone who is familiar with their local rules/practices.

Please don't forget to choose the "best" or most "helpful" answer. This response does not create an attorney client relationship. The information provided here should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for legal advice received by an attorney that you have retained for your specific case. If you are actually involved in a case pending in court and you have an attorney, you should speak to your attorney and follow his/her advice. The information provided here is for general purposes only.