What Is An Attempted Crime?
California statute 664 PC states, “Every person who attempts to commit any crime, but fails, or is prevented or intercepted in its perpetration, shall be punished where no provision is made by law for the punishment of those attempts.”
This means that if you attempt to commit a crime, you can still be charged and penalized under the law, even if you fail to successfully complete the crime. In California, attempted crimes are sentenced to one-half the fines, incarceration, etc., that would be imposed had the defendant completed the offense.
How Attempted Crimes Are Proven
Prosecutors must show the following factors to prove a suspect attempted to commit a crime beyond reasonable doubt:
- The suspect took a clear step towards committing a criminal offense, and
- The suspect fully intended to complete the offense
A “direct step” as defined by California law is more than simply obtaining or organizing materials or plans necessary to commit the offense, and even goes beyond preparation or the intention to carry out the criminal act.
A direct step is an action toward breaking the law after laying groundwork that demonstrates a clear, unmistakable plan to engage in illegal conduct. This step sets the events in motion and ensures that the crime would have been successful if the attempt had not been directly interrupted.
Potential Defenses Against Charges of Attempted Crime
The would-be offender is considered innocent of the attempted crime if they willingly abandon a plan to break the law prior to taking a direct step. Another potential defense may be that the suspect did not act to further the crime, meaning that no direct step was taken towards a criminal act. Other viable defenses include the defendant did not intend to commit a crime or did not understand that the actions they were engaging in were criminal.
Get Help From a Los Angeles, CA Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one were charged with an attempted crime in California, your future, career, and reputation are at stake. Depending on the severity of the crime, you could be on the hook for hundreds or even thousands of dollars in fines and potentially years in jail.
Contact The Lewin Law Group today to learn more about how to defend yourself against charges of attempted crime by calling (800) 458-1488.