There are times when you can be charged with a crime even if you didn’t actually go through with an illegal act. As long as it can be established that you intended to commit a crime, you can still be charged and face prosecution for your actions. What would a prosecutor have to prove to earn a conviction?
Did You Know What You Did Could Be Seen as Threatening?
If you threaten to hit or stab somebody, it could be seen as assault or battery if the victim honestly thought that you would follow through on your actions. For instance, if you pulled out a knife or balled up your fist before taking a step toward someone, that would be enough to instill fear in your intended target. A prosecutor may pursue an attempted murder charge if you shot someone with the intent to kill them or charge you with attempted rape if you tried to initiate sexual contact against someone’s will even if you didn’t succeed.
What Kind of Penalties Do Attempted Crimes Carry?
Crimes are generally broken down into misdemeanors and felonies. A misdemeanor charge generally carries a year or less in jail and possible probation. You may also be fined if convicted on such a charge. Examples of misdemeanors include driving under the influence, simple battery and minor drug possession. Felonies are considered to be more serious and carry stiffer penalties. It may be possible to spend many years in state or federal prison in addition to probation and financial penalties. Rape, murder and arson are all examples of felonies.
How Would an Attorney Help in Such a Case?
An attorney may be able to argue that you were innocent of the crime against you because you weren’t in the area when it took place. For instance, you may have been on a flight to Miami when a crime occurred in New York City or may have been at dinner with your parents when a crime you are accused of committing took place. Evidence such as the plane ticket from your flight or a receipt from dinner may be enough to prove that alibi.
If there is evidence against you presented in court, an attorney may be able to cast doubt upon that evidence or have it suppressed. This may mean that legal counsel gets a witness to admit that he or she didn’t actually see you shoot someone or sell drugs to a minor. Evidence may be suppressed in the event that it was obtained illegally or may have been handled improperly, which would call into doubt its authenticity.
Leniency May Be Granted for Information About the Case
If you were committed a crime on the orders or suggestion of another person, you are still responsible for your actions. However, telling prosecutors who ordered you to hurt someone or to organize a drug deal could result in reduced jail time or complete immunity as that person may be the bigger danger to society.
Attempting to commit a crime may carry the same penalties as actually committing it. Therefore, you should be ready to defend yourself thoroughly if you are accused of intending to do something illegal. In a best case scenario, you may be able to prove your innocence or argue that ignorance of the law led you to make a decision that you regret. That may lead to an acquittal or an otherwise favorable result in your case.