As far as I know, the key difference between "Attempt Aggravated Assault" and "Attempted Murder" is whether or not the prosecution can prove that the perpetrator intended to kill someone.

However, the requirement for proving intent has led to a lot of inconsistency in how these types of violent crimes are classified in practice.

Has there been any effort in any legal system to standardize the difference between attempted assault and attempted murder? For example, by creating a specific category for attempted violent crimes, perhaps calling it a "violent attempt at harm"?

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    Criminal law is overwhelmingly national, so what kind of international framework would you be looking for? I guess the "trend" is to differentiate even more, e.g. murder vs. manslaughter vs. negligent homicide.
    – o.m.
    Nov 14, 2022 at 6:18
  • @o.m. I am trying to go the other way. I am looking for a more "generalized term" that is inclusive of both attempted assault & attempted murder. I am trying to respect historical precedence by seeing if there is already a word for this.
    – AlanSTACK
    Nov 14, 2022 at 6:25
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    For the most part, the effort has been to maintain the distinction, not to collapse it, so as to increase prosecutorial discretion.
    – ohwilleke
    Nov 14, 2022 at 13:05
  • @AlanSTACK You mean "historical precedents" (which means past examples of something) not "historical precedence" (which means priority of one person over another at some time in the past, for example, the right of son of a reigning monarch to inherit a title of nobility over daughters in early 20th century England)
    – ohwilleke
    Nov 28, 2022 at 12:49

1 Answer 1


The Model Penal Code (by the American Law Institute) is a standardized code that individual states can draw from. Many states' criminal law is based at least in part on this code.

The MPC provides definitions for aggravated assault, murder, and attempts.

In general, crimes do not fit into a neat taxonomy structure with more severe ones being strict subsets of less severe or less specific ones. Sometimes, the definitions, or the manner in which offences are charged in a particular circumstance, will create such a relationship, but this is not inherent in the structure of the code.

Other statutes do define umbrella terms that might be relevant to what you're thinking of. For example the Armed Career Criminal Act provides for sentencing enhancements after numerous convictions for "violent felonies." That term has been interpreted several times by the United States Supreme Court to determine whether it captured specific state crimes.

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