Criminal attempt, like the offense of conspiracy, is known as an inchoate offense. This term is used to describe conduct which, while not actual commission of the offense, involves intentional steps undertaken to carry out the violation. When someone engages in criminal attempt, for example, to commit robbery, possession CDS, engage in prostitution, the law often impose the same or substantially similar penalties as those that apply to those who executed the crime. As a result, it is important to know your rights and what you are up against if you have been charged with attempt. The content on this page is intended to address common concerns of those arrested for criminal attempt. For assistance from an attorney from our firm, call us for a free consultation at 973-710-1520.

Elements Of The Offense Of Criminal Attempt

In order to prove a charge of attempt under N.J.S.A. 2C:5–1, the prosecutor must establish three (3) elements beyond reasonable doubt. First, the state must prove that the defendant’s conduct was purposeful, that is, that the accused possessed the purpose to criminal offense in question. Second, the conduct must be in furtherance of a crime as opposed to a disorderly persons offense. Third, the efforts of the accused must constitute a substantial step in the culmination of the crime (e.g. soliciting someone to commit a charge).

What Is A Substantial Step In Bringing About The Crime?

Conduct can form the basis for an attempt violation when it constitutes a “substantial step” in a plan intended to facilitate a crime. It should be clarified in this regard that mere preparation will not suffice as a substantial step.  Examples of efforts that satisfy this requirement includes searching something with a purpose of stealing whatever is found, preparing false documents that you intend to use to defraud someone and solicitation of an individual to commit a crime.

Can Someone Be Convicted Of Attempt If They Renounce or Abandon The Crime?

An affirmative defense to criminal attempt is renunciation of the intent/purpose to engage in the crime. In order for the defense to apply, two (2) things must happen. First, the renunciation must be complete such that commission of the offense is thwarted. Second, the accused must renounce/abandon the attempt voluntarily; a change in heart out of fear of being detected or discovery of difficulty in completing the crime will not therefore suffice in triggering the defense.

How Severe Is A Criminal Attempt Charge?

Attempt is treated the same in terms of grading as the crime to be completed. However, if the attempt involves a first degree crime, other than murder, the offense is a second degree crime.

Is There A Possibility of Being Convicted Of Both The Crime & Attempt?

Yes but the conviction for attempt merges with the conviction for the offense.

A charge for attempt can have serious ramifications since the grading is, in most instances, the same as what applies if you were the one who executed the crime. In other words, you will face the same punishment that you would if the offense was completed. You certainly need to do your best to avoid this outcome and our lawyers are skilled in this respect. Call us at 973-710-1520 and a lawyer will more than happy to explain how we can help you.