What to Know If You’ve Been Charged with Attempted Murder in Colorado

Violent crimes are some of the most harshly punished crimes in Colorado. However, sometimes the crime doesn’t even have to be fully completed in order for a person to be charged – the intent of the crime is often enough for a conviction, especially when it comes to attempting murder.

In Greeley, Colorado, a man wanted for attempted murder in El Paso County was recently spotted. He is on the run, and the public has been warned that he is extremely dangerous and possibly armed. He is wanted in connection with attempted murder, assault involving strangulation, harassment, felony menacing, and theft.

What may be confusing is that Colorado doesn’t have a separate attempted murder statute. However, the law does punish those who attempt to murder.

Here’s what you need to know about this crime and how it’s prosecuted, as well as possible defenses against it.

Attempted Murder in Colorado

Under Colorado law, there is no crime simply referred to as “an attempt”. Prosecutors can choose the crime that they believe was attempted and prosecute for that. This is the process by which people end up being charged with attempted murder.

In Colorado, anyone who knowingly engages in conduct that creates a grave risk of death can be charged with this crime. Your crime must satisfy the elements of murder, with the exception of bringing about the death of another person.

Attempted murder is considered an inchoate offense, since it is not an offense fully formed or developed. It is an action taken in furtherance of another criminal act – murder, in this case.

Actions that are taken with indifference to human life are usually considered first-degree attempted murder. If the bar of extreme indifference to human life is not fulfilled, then it is likely prosecuted as attempted second-degree murder.


You may believe that, since ultimately the victim was not killed, the penalties for attempted murder are not severe, but that’s simply not the case.

Attempted murder is considered a crime of violence. It is punished accordingly. Anyone convicted of attempted second-degree murder faces the penalties for a Class 3 felony, which include:

  • As many as 32 years in prison
  • Fines of as much as $750,000

If someone is found guilty of first-degree attempted murder, then they face penalties associated with a Class 2 felony, including:

  • As many as 48 years in prison with a mandatory parole period of five years
  • Fines of as much as $1 million

What Defenses Can Be Used Against Charges of Attempted Murder?

What Defenses Can Be Used Against Charges of Attempted Murder?

When you work with an experienced criminal defense attorney, they can advise you on the best defense for your specific case. In general, the types of defenses used in cases of attempted murder include:

  • Accidental acts without the indifference to human life
  • Acting in self-defense or in the defense of another
  • No grave risk of death in your conduct
  • You didn’t knowingly engage in the conduct of which you’re accused
  • You did not commit the crime at all and have been mistaken for someone else
  • The police did not read you your rights
  • The police engaged in misconduct or illegal search of you
  • The victim of the crime was ultimately not killed, because you prevented the crime from occurring – or you abandoned your efforts to commit the crime


About the Author:

Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been recognized by countless legal organizations for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for 2020, and is Lead Counsel rated.