The son of actor Ryan O’Neal and the late Farrah Fawcett was recently charged with attempted murder. According to police, the suspect, R. O’Neal, is believed to have committed a spree of crimes in the Palms and Venice Beach areas that included punching several men, stabbing one, and the robbery of a 7-11 store. O’Neal has already pleaded not guilty to charges of robbery, possession of methamphetamine, heroine, and other charges.
“Attempted Crimes” fall under California Penal Codes 21a PC and 664 PC. A person can be charged with an attempted crime if they are found to have:
- Specifically intended to commit a crime and
- Carried out a direct, but ineffective, act in furtherance of that crime
Generally speaking, the penalties for attempted crimes are equal to half of the potential state prison/count jail sentence for the underlying crime and/or half of the maximum potential fine for the underlying offence. For example, the attempted version of a crime that carries a 1 year county jail sentence and max fine of $1,000 would be 6 months in county jail and a fine of $500 dollars.
There are a few exceptions to this rule. If the underlying crime that the defendant is convicted of attempting to commit has the potential sentence of life in prison or the death penalty, the maximum sentence will be 5, 7 or 9 years in California state prison. Also, if the defendant is convicted of attempting to commit either willful, deliberate and premeditated murder or the murder of a police officer or firefighter, the sentence will be life in prison with the possibility of parole. Last, if a defendant is convicted of attempting the willful, deliberate and premeditated murder of a police officer or firefighter, the sentence will be 15 years to life in prison, with no possibility of parole until at least 15 years has been served.