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Can You Be Charged with Attempting a Crime in New York?

At the time of your arrest or during questioning by the police, you might be shocked to hear charges for attempted robbery or attempted rape. Similarly, you could be formally charged with attempted identity theft or attempted embezzlement as a federal crime in New York.

Have you identified what makes these criminal offenses different from most other charges for crime in New York? A defendant didn’t need to carry out the crime to be charged and convicted under New York or federal law. The mere attempt of certain criminal acts can land you in jail all the same, and if you are arrested or charged with attempt of a crime in New York, your first phone call should be to a New York criminal defense lawyer.

What Is “Attempt” Under New York Law?

All criminal laws in New York can be found in the New York Penal Law, and the statute on attempt is no different. Section 110.00 of the New York statutes defines attempt as an individual, “with intent to commit a crime, he engages in conduct which tends to effect the commission of such crime.” While this might be very meaningful to a New York criminal lawyer, it is equally confusing. Instead, it is easier to think of attempt requiring two separate elements.

It is an attempt of a crime in New York if the defendant intends to carry out the underlying criminal offense and takes specific, identifiable actions to complete that exact crime. The prosecutor must have evidence of both elements to bring charges for the attempt of a crime in New York, which can be complicated and difficult to establish when actions necessary for a more serious offense could also be applied to a lesser crime. For example, it is hard to prove attempted murder when the defendant took steps to hit, punch, or commit other assault on the victim, as these actions are also indicators of an assault crime.

As well, the actions of the defendant must exceed “mere preparation” to be considered an attempt. It isn’t a crime for the defendant to purchase a gun. Another phrase used by criminal defense lawyers and prosecutors is that the defendant must take a substantial step towards completing the underlying crime. And it isn’t even criminal attempt to carry the gun in the presence of an intended victim without further action. Alternatively, it is likely attempted murder if the defendant bought a gun, pointed it at the victim, pulled the trigger, and missed.

What Criminal Offenses Include Charges for Attempt?

In September, news broke of a 52-year-old woman charged with attempted murder of five people. Three of the intended victims were infants. The story was circulated, in part, because of the potential crime against three small children, but also because the alleged perpetrator was a caregiver and at-home nanny to the kids. The charges for attempted murder could result in a long prison sentence, if she is convicted.

While September’s story received attention in the news, there are hundreds of similar charges in New York City each year. Attempted murder is one of the frequent applications of New York’s attempt statute and requires the attention of New York defense lawyers regularly.

However, murder isn’t the only offense that can be “attempted” by a defendant. Burglary, sexual assault, and robbery are all crimes in New York that lead to charges for the attempt of a crime. In fact, any crime in the New York Penal Law could be charged under the attempt statute, provided the two elements described above are met and evidenced by the prosecutor. This includes attempt charges for wire fraud, computer fraud, sex crimes, and cyber extortion.

How Can You Fight Charges for Attempt?

Fighting charges for criminal attempt in New York are different from any other criminal defense. It is important to hire a New York lawyer who is experienced with attempt charges and has a history of success in these cases. Yet, it is very possible to fight attempt charges for a crime in New York.

You can start to build a defense to attempt charges by calling Koch Law at (844) 562-4529. Our legal team will schedule a free and confidential initial consultation to discuss your case.