Nevada "Attempted Murder" Law (NRS 200.030)
Explained by Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys

Attempted murder is usually much harder for Nevada prosecutors to prove than actual murder.  There is no dead body, and no one can read your mind to tell whether you intended to kill.

Our Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Michael Becker is very experienced in attempted murder cases and crafting favorable resolutions with or without a trial.  Keep reading to learn about the Nevada offense of attempted murder and how we can help you.


The legal definition of attempted murder in Las Vegas, Nevada is "the performance of an act which tends, but fails, to kill a human being, when such acts are done with . . . the deliberate intention unlawfully to kill."  (Keys v. State, 104 Nev. 736, 766 P.2d 270 (1988))

Therefore for someone to be convicted of attempted murder in Nevada, the prosecution has to prove two key elements:

  1. the defendant intended to kill the would-be-victim, and
  2. the defendant took at least one direct step towards accomplishing the killing

Merely intending to injure does not make you liable for attempted murder . . . the D.A. must prove you meant to kill.  In cases where there was a physical fight, for instance, the D.A. would argue that any wounds you allegedly inflicted on the victim's head or chest are evidence of intent to kill because of its proximity to vital organs.

Similarly, simply planning a homicide would not qualify as an attempted murder in Nevada law.  The defendant would have had to put the plan into action.  Examples of attempted murder include paying a hitman to kill someone, or shooting at someone who then dodges the bullet.


Attempted murder in Nevada lends itself to several different defenses that may prove effective in getting the case dismissed.  Below are three common strategies:

  • Self-defense. Nevada self-defense laws can get you acquitted of attempted murder if your attorney can show that your actions were justifiable under the circumstances.  As long as the would-be-victim posed an immediate threat to your life, the charge may be dropped.
  • You did not intend to kill. Attempted murder only comprises homicides where the defendant expressly intended to kill someone, not just harm or maim the person.  If the prosecutor cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to cause death, then you are not liable for attempted murder.
  • There was no attempt to kill. You committed no crime by merely preparing to kill or thinking about killing someone.  If your attorney can show that your actions did not constitute a "direct step" towards accomplishing the killing, attempted murder charges should not stand.
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Attempted murder is a category B felony in Las Vegas.  The punishment is 2 to 20 years in Nevada state prison.

Additional penalties of 1 to 20 years will be imposed if the defendant used a deadly weapon or if the would-be victim was sixty or older.  But this enhanced sentence may not be longer than the underlying sentence for attempted murder.  Read more at our article on Murder Laws in Nevada.

Call us if your friend or family member is facing charges . . . .

Phone 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) to talk with our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys for free.  We will draw on our vast experience as negotiators and as trial lawyers to try to resolve this case as positively as possible.

For information about California attempted murder law, go to our page on California attempted murder law.





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