Attempted Crimes vs. Successfully Completed Crimes

Attempted Crimes vs. Successfully Completed Crimes In criminal law, attempted crimes and crimes that are successfully completed are distinct but interconnected concepts that form the basis of legal culpability. Understanding the differences between these two different types of crimes is absolutely crucial for comprehending the legal consequences of an individual's actions.

Attempted Crimes

An attempted crime occurs when an individual intends to commit an offense, but fails to complete all the necessary elements required for the commission of that offense. In legal terms, an attempt involves a substantial step towards the commission of a crime, with the specific intent to bring about the intended result. The focus in attempted crimes is on the individual's intent and the overt acts they engage in, rather than the actual completion of the crime.

For example, in a case where a person attempts to commit burglary, if they break into a house intending to steal valuable items but are apprehended before they can take anything, they can be charged with attempted burglary. Despite the unsuccessful completion of the crime, the person's intent and the substantial step taken demonstrate their criminal liability for attempting to commit the offense.

Another example involves a scenario where an individual decides to poison a colleague's coffee by secretly adding a lethal substance to it. However, their plan is foiled when a coworker accidentally spills the coffee, rendering it undrinkable. Although the person was unsuccessful in poisoning their colleague due to unforeseen circumstances outside their control, their intention and the substantial step they took in preparing the poison could lead to charges of attempted murder.

Successfully Completed Crimes

Successfully completed crimes, on the other hand, occur where an individual successfully completes all the necessary elements required for a particular crime. Unlike attempted crimes, the focus here shifts from the individual's intent and their overt acts to the actual outcome of their actions.

For instance, if a person intentionally causes harm to another person resulting in their death, it would be considered murder or voluntary manslaughter. The act of causing harm and the resulting death fulfill the necessary elements for the offense, leading to criminal liability. Again, the focus here is that all of the necessary elements required for the particular crime were completed, and the focus is less on the person’s intent and steps they made towards committing the crime.

Ultimately, understanding the distinctions between attempted crimes and successfully completed crimes is essential because it helps determine an individual's culpability for their actions. Attempted crimes involve individuals who take substantial steps towards committing an offense but fail to complete all necessary elements. Successfully completed crimes, on the other hand, are offenses where individuals successfully fulfill all the elements required for a particular crime. Most importantly, the distinctions will affect the punishment for the crimes. While a person will not be let off entirely for not successfully completing the crime, typically the punishment for an attempted crime is usually half of the punishment that the punishment for a successfully completed crime would be.

If you have been charged with an attempted or successfully completed crime, it is crucial critical that you discuss your case immediately with a knowledgeable and aggressive criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Michael Kraut understands how to successfully defend clients against attempted and successfully completed crimes.

For more information about the criminal justice process, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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