In common law an attempted murder charge results from merely preparing to commit an unlawful killing while possessing, at the same time, a specific intention to cause the death of a human being. The penalties associated with an attempted murder will vary based on the circumstance, but in most cases punishments for such an act are extremely severe.
Charges for attempted murder typically involve a life sentence or imprisonment of 20 years. As stated before, the charges for attempted murder depend on circumstances and the court decision, so there is no single penalty that a court will issue. For example, a premeditated attempted murder typically floats between a 10 to 25 year prison sentence or the death penalty in severe cases, where a child is the intended victim.
The most lenient charges in regards to attempted murder are found in self-defense cases. These charges typically revolve around a 1 to 10-year prison sentence.