That way, you can firmly deal with allegations levelled against you. Also, given the potential consequences of a ‘guilty verdict,’ it’s crucial to have a legal representative who can help you develop a strong defence.

So, is it a crime to attempt a crime? The answer is yes. An attempt to commit a misdeed is an act done with the intention of carrying out an offence but which falls short of completing the crime. Generally, an attempt is made up of three aspects, namely:

  1. Intent
  2. Substantial step
  3. Failure

Let’s examine each of these variables in depth. That way, we can paint a clearer picture of the concept of an attempted felony.


Thinking Vs. Attempting to Commit a Crime

The thought of committing a crime and attempting to engage in criminal activity is very different. Just because someone has ideas about committing a felony doesn’t mean they will try to do so.

Many people think about committing violations but never take action towards doing so. You’d be surprised how often the thought crosses our minds. For instance, if you’re in a financial fix, you might imagine what it would be like to rob a bank. Would than mean you attempted to commit the crime? Not by any stretch of the imagination.

Similarly, if someone talks to their friend about committing an unlawful act, it does not amount to a felony. This is because thoughts and words are not the same as actions.

1. Intent

An intent usually means an individual doesn’t eventually commit an unlawful act, although some attempts result in a crime. Therefore, to successfully charge a defendant for trying to engage in an unlawful act, the prosecution must provide clear evidence of the defendant’s actions, words, and conduct demonstrating a clear intent to commit the crime.

Plainly put, the burden is on the prosecution to show that the defendant specifically had the intention to breach the law. The common type of intent is transferred intent.


2. Transferred Intent

It’s also relevant to beware of a concept known as transferred intent. Generally, transferred intent is a legal doctrine that applies when a person intends to commit a wrongful act against one person but unintentionally commits it against someone else.

For instance, let’s assume that someone intends to shoot their perceived enemy, only to shoot a passerby who happened to be close to the intended victim. In this case, the transferred intent doctrine would come into play, and the defendant could still be charged with the crime because they had the initial intention of harming another person.

The doctrine of transferred intent allows the victim to recover damages as if the defendant had intended to commit the crime against the victim. Also, transferred intent is based on the principle that a person should be liable for their actions’ consequences, even if they were unintended. If you’re facing a criminal charge of any nature, it helps to have a seasoned and sought-after criminal attorney like Kaysi Fagan in your corner.

3. Substantial Step

So, what constitutes a substantial step in criminal law when charging someone for an attempt to commit a crime? Well, in most cases, a substantial step must be more than merely preparatory actions. For example, buying a gun in preparation for a robbery would not be considered a substantial step, but brandishing the weapon during the robbery would be.

Similarly, planning and carrying out an escape from prison would likely be considered a substantial step. But, simply thinking about escaping would not. Ultimately, it is up to the courts to decide whether or not a particular action qualifies as a substantial step, and each case will be decided on its own merits.

Also, these examples have one thing in common: an action that a defendant takes with the hope of completing the intended crime. Thus, only when someone takes a step towards infringing the law, such as planning or obtaining materials, can it be considered a felony. In these cases, brandishing the weapon or carrying out an escape suffice. These substantial steps are the qualifying factor in establishing an attempt to commit a crime.


4. Failure

To be charged with a crime, you must first attempt to commit it. This may seem like a simple concept, but it is often misunderstood. If someone fails to commit a felony, they can only be charged with attempted murder or attempted robbery. But if they go ahead and complete their mission, such as murder, they will be accused of murder, which carries a stiffer sentence.

Typically, the charge of attempting a crime implies you took concrete steps towards completing the Offence, but for some reason, you’re unable to finish. This could be due to poor planning, lack of resources, or getting caught before you could complete the act. Whatever the reason, you can be charged with trying to do so even if you don’t commit the crime.


Attempted crime is often seen as a victimless Offence. But, the reality is that it can significantly impact victims and society as a whole. In many cases, the attempt is traumatising, and the knowledge that someone was willing to harm you can be very damaging.

Plus, attempted Offences often serve as a gateway to more serious Offences, indicating that the offender is likely to re-offend. For these reasons, the courts punish attempted felonies as a deterrent measure. Harsher penalties can serve as a powerful deterrent, sending a clear message that such behaviour will not be tolerated.

Such measures can also help to discourage would-be offenders from progressing to more serious Offences. Generally, punishment for an attempted crime varies based on factors such as:

  • Nature of intended wrongdoing.
  • Available information shows the probable harm the Offence is likely to have caused.
  • The gravity of harm- the extent of potential harm, damage, or injury.
  • Subjective factors such as whether the defendant has been charged before.

Being accused of an attempted crime can leave you in a fix. And a sentence can have serious personal consequences. Depending on the severity of the misdeed, you may be fined, placed on probation, or even imprisoned. Even worse, a criminal record can make it difficult to obtain housing, employment, or loans.

As a result, a sentence for attempting a crime can have far-reaching implications and should not be taken lightly. That’s why hiring a credible defence attorney to fight for you can be an essential first step to securing your freedom.