Attempting to commit a criminal act is its own complete crime in GA. The punishment for attempt is connected to the punishment for whatever the completed crime would have been, for example, attempt for a misdemeanor carries a misdemeanor sentence, for a felony the penalty is a minimum of one year in prison but no more than one-half of the maximum period of time for which he or she would have been sentenced if they had been convicted of the crime attempted. One could also be sentenced to one-half of the maximum fine if they had been found guilty of a crime attempted. If a crime carries the death penalty or life the attempt sentence could be between 1 to 30 years. But when exactly has attempt happened?
A person commits the offense of criminal attempt when, with intent to commit a specific crime, he performs any act, which constitutes a substantial step towards commission of that crime.
There are two elements to the crime of attempt:
- A specific intent or purpose to bring a criminal result
- A significant overt act in furtherance of that intent that proves that the Defendant went past the point of preparation and began preparing for the crime.
Arguably, the most important element of an attempt charge is what the court considers a “substantial step”. The standard is an Act done in furtherance of the commission of the crime or Acts that are beyond mere preparation. This is largely at the discretion of the Judge and what has been established in previous cases, therefore having an experienced attorney on your side to navigate this standard is vital. For example;
Having in your possession the tools necessary to commit a specific crime, like the tools for stealing a car or making illegal drugs in your home, in your car, or on your person can be an “act in furtherance” of a crime. Or,
Arriving to a home and pushing a door to see if it will open can be a “substantial step” for burglary.
In cases like these the prosecutor had to prove that the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of criminal attempt. That means in addition to a substantial step the prosecutor must prove that the defendant had the specific intent to commit the crime and took a substantial step to committing the crime. Intent is established by mental state, or the intentional desire to have the crime completed. An experienced attorney can raise effective defenses to intent that could lead to a dismissal of the charge. If you are convicted of an attempt crime seek counsel immediately.
If you are facing Attempt charges in Georgia call us today for help with your case at 404-551-5684.