Even if a defendant fails to fully complete a crime, he or she can be charged with attempt, i.e. in the case of an uncompleted or inchoate offense. While the requirements for proving attempt vary by jurisdiction, generally specific intent must be shown (even if the underlying crime was a general intent or strict liability offense) as well as a substantial step towards actually committing the crime itself.
See, e.g. U.S. v. Resendiz-Ponce, 549 U.S. 102 (2007).
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
Starting but not completing an intended criminal act. Attempts involve more than just thinking about doing a criminal act or planning it without at least some concrete steps. Attempted crimes can include attempted murder, attempted robbery, attempted rape, attempted forgery, attempted arson, and a host of other crimes. Attempts are often punished less severely than completed crimes.
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:11 pm