Attempt to Commit a Crime


Criminal Attempt is when someone attempts to pull off a crime which may or may not be successful. Generally, criminal attempt occurs when a person has a plan, or intent to commit a crime, and takes actions toward committing the crime. If a crime is successfully committed, the person will be charged with the actual crime.

Specific Intent

All crimes cannot be considered an “attempted” crime. Only people who have specific intent can be charged with attempt. The term specific intent refers to the persons state of mind. In other words, the specific intent is when a person plans on committing a specific crime, with the intention of actually committing the crime, as opposed to mere desire or fantasy.

Substantial Step

As well as proving intent, prosecutors must also prove that the individual has taken steps toward completing the crime they are intending to commit. To prove that a person has taken steps toward committing the intended crime, the prosecutor must come up with evidence other than speculations about committing the crime. These steps must include the person actively working toward committing the intended crime, even if in the end the crime is not successful. For example, someone who wants to rob a bank can not be charged with attempt if they were only considering or discussing the robbery. However, if that person went out of their way to buy guns to use in the robbery and is caught before they even robbed the bank, they can be charged with attempt.


The severity of punishment for criminal attempt varies depending on the nature of the intended crime. For example, an individual charged with attempted murder will face a heavier punishment than someone charged with attempted theft. However, punishment for criminal attempt is not as harsh as the punishment would be if the crime was fully completed. Oftentimes, through the aid of an effective criminal defense lawyer, through skillful plea bargaining and negotiations, individuals may end up being convicted of attempt as opposed to the actual charge faced.

At The Law Office of Yifei He, PLLC, our lawyer has years of experience helping clients overcome a wide range of legal barriers. With our attorney by your side, you can navigate this process with efficiency and confidence.

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