An inchoate offense is a type of crime that is committed by taking a punishable step towards the commission of another crime. The three basic inchoate offenses are attempt, solicitation, and conspiracy.
The crime allegedly intended is referred to as the target offense. Inchoate offenses involve actions taken with the intent to commit a target offense.
Attempt is an inchoate offense that occurs when an individual takes a substantial step towards the commission of a target offense, but ultimately fails to complete the crime. For example, an individual who attempts to rob a bank but is unsuccessful in doing so has committed the inchoate offense of attempted robbery.
It is important to note that inchoate offenses merge into the target offense, except for conspiracy. This means that if a suspect is charged with committing a specific crime, they cannot also be charged with attempt and solicitation of that same crime. However, both conspiracy to commit a crime and the crime itself may be charged together.
[Last updated in March of 2023 by the Wex Definitions Team]