We already discussed attempted murder and how difficult it can be to prosecute, especially if you have a skilled San Marcos defense attorney at your side. But what about attempted burglary, or attempted rape? Everyone has heard of those charges, but what do they actually mean? And what are the penalties for such crimes?
First, it’s important to realize that you can’t be charged with an “attempted” crime just because you said you wished something would happen or even that you wanted to do something. You must have intentionally made an attempt to commit a crime that was not completed. It doesn’t matter whether you changed your mind partway through or were caught before the crime was completed, if you intended and started to attempt to commit a crime, you can be charged with the attempted version of that crime.
In order to be convicted of attempting to commit a crime, the prosecution must be able to prove that you intended to commit the crime and that you actually acted to do so. In other words, if you got hopped on someone else’s bike and started to ride away before you were stopped, you can’t be charged with attempted theft if you simply mixed up that person’s bicycle and your own. Additionally, if you wanted to steal someone’s bike, walked up to the bike, but then decided against it before trying to actually take the bike, you did not commit attempted theft. If you don’t believe you intended to or actually attempted to commit a crime but are charged with attempting to do so, be sure to talk to your San Marcos criminal lawyer as it could make a huge difference in your case.
With the exception murder charges, the general rule is that a conviction for an attempt to commit a crime carries a sentence half as long as the actual crime. So if you were sentenced to attempted bicycle theft and the prosecutor sought the maximum sentence, you could face up to three months in jail and a $500 fine, rather than the six months in jail and $1000 fine petty theft ordinarily carries. If the crime was murder, but not first-degree murder, or if it carries a sentence of life imprisonment, the potential sentence will be no longer than nine years in prison. If you are charged with attempted first degree murder though, then you could face life imprisonment without parole. If the crime If you have any questions about what kind of sentencing you might be facing, your San Marcos criminal attorney can clarify things for you.
Often prosecutors offer attempted crime charges in serious or strike cases, but even an attempted serious crime is still a strike under the three strikes law. Do not agree to any reduced sentencing without your lawyer present.
In California, attempting to commit a crime may not be as bad as actually succeeding at a criminal act, but it is still a crime. If you have been accused of attempting to commit a crime, please call (760) 643-4050 to speak with San Marcos criminal defense lawyer Peter M. Liss.
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