Incomplete Crimes: What They Are and How They Affect You

Many crimes fall under the category of inchoate or incomplete crimes. These are crimes someone may plan, agree to commit, or request someone else carry out. In all these cases, the ensuing crime doesn’t have to occur. The incomplete crime itself can represent a crime. Here is what you should know about incomplete crimes.

What Are Incomplete Crimes?

Inchoate is a word meaning something just beginning or not fully formed. An inchoate crime is one that doesn’t quite get off the ground. Incomplete crimes imply the intent was there, even if nothing came of that intent. Generally, incomplete crimes fall into three broad categories:

  1. Conspiracy: An agreement between two or more people to commit a crime.
  2. Solicitation: Requesting, encouraging, or incentivizing someone to commit a crime.
  3. Attempt: Attempting but failing to complete a crime in part or full.

Incomplete crimes tend to fill most of the criteria of a complete crime, but stop short of full completion.

The Path to an Incomplete Crime

Most crimes start as an idea. From that idea, someone may start the process of preparing for the crime. Once prepared, that person can start the process of committing the crime. Up to this point, you might think no crime has occurred.

Ruminating on an idea isn’t a crime, and deciding on whether to commit a crime or not isn’t illegal. However, preparation means the person has decided to act and commit a criminal offense.

Quitting the crime before fully completing it can save the person from the full criminal charge. Nevertheless, everything leading up to abandoning the crime can still come with charges.

What Are the Penalties Associated With Incomplete Crimes?

The penalties associated with incomplete crimes can vary widely. How the court deals with inchoate criminal charges depends on the nature of the completed crime attached to it. For example, a criminal solicitation charge can come with a fine, imprisonment, or both up to the maximum associated with the crime solicited.

When the charge is a solicitation of murder, the court imposes a minimum of 15 years imprisonment. In some other cases, you can receive penalties for a lesser version of the completed crime. For example, if the completed crime represents a Class 3 felony, you can face all the penalties of the lesser Class 4 version of that crime.

Because of how these penalties work, you must take any incomplete criminal charges seriously. Even a lesser penalty can severely impact your life in every way that any criminal charge can.

What Are Some Defenses for Incomplete Crimes?

Defenses for incomplete crimes will vary as they depend on the specific charge and circumstances surrounding the charge. Generally, the prosecution must show two things to convict someone of an inchoate crime. First, the prosecution must prove intent for the crime to happen. Proving intent works the same way for inchoate crimes as it does for complete crimes.

The prosecution must also prove you took actions in furtherance of the completed crime. Disproving one or both these things can serve as the cornerstone of your defense. Specific defenses exist as well for inchoate crimes. For example, if you completely stopped all actions towards the furtherance of the crime, you can put forth an abandonment defense.

Your defense is unique to your situation. Don’t assume an inchoate charge is one you should accept and move on with. If you’re facing one of these charges, seek out a criminal defense attorney immediately. AtDaniels, Long & Pinsel, LLC, we have decades of experience dealing with criminal law and fighting for our clients. Contact us right now to get the help you need.

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