Could I Be Charged for Attempting to Commit a Crime?

Categories: Criminal Defense

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Criminal Defense Attorney Serving All of Western Colorado

There are instances when people are accused of a crime, but did not commit the crime. Instead, they are accused of attempting the crime.

Attempt to commit a crime is just as bad as committing the act itself. For example, say a burglar is caught in the act, or a person is caught while attempting to commit homicide. Even if the crime was not carried out, the intention was present; therefore, the law sees it as equally offensive as if the person committed the crime.

Understanding Criminal Attempt

Under Colorado Revised Statute Section 18-2-101, a person who commits a criminal attempt, or acting with the intention of doing so, is taking a substantial step toward the offense. Therefore, the law sees it as a violation.

The most important note, however, is that you must make a substantial step toward the commission of the offense to be convicted of attempt. So, your attorney would need to either prove that you did not make a significant step, or disprove the evidence from the prosecution that you did.

Consider, for example, that you went to a local home improvement store with the intent to steal a lawn mower. You found the one you liked and decided that you would take it home later. You put the lawn mower in your cart and then attempt to walk through an empty checkout stand. You see an employee, so you decide to leave without stealing the item.

In this instance, you would not be charged with theft, but you could still be accused of attempted theft because you did try to steal – only the employee’s presence stopped you.

The Classifications of Criminal Attempt

The word “attempt” can be added to any crime that one attempts, such as attempting homicide, attempted robbery, attempted assault, and so on.

The law recognizes that it cannot just punish those who complete crimes – it must also punish those who attempt crimes, because those individuals are in fact guilty of trying to commit a crime. Had they not been caught, they might have carried out the crime.

The punishment for an attempt in areas like Denver, Adams, and Jefferson Counties will not be as harsh as other counties in Colorado, but they are still severe enough to impact the rest of your life. The charge will depend on the crime you are accused of attempting to commit. For example, if you were to attempt a Class 1 felony, you will be charged with a Class 2 felony instead. If you were attempting a Class 4 felony, then you would be accused of a Class 5 felony, and so on. The same rule applies with misdemeanors – if you were attempting a Class 1 misdemeanor, the courts would charge you with a Class 2 misdemeanor.

As you can see, you are still accused of the same crime, but you drop down in classification for the crime you were attempting to commit.

Arrested for Attempting a Crime? Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Immediately

If you were arrested for trying to commit a crime, do not assume that because you did not commit the crime you would not be charged. Instead, contact a Colorado criminal defense attorney with prosecutorial experience. Speak with attorney Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C. today for a free consultation at 970-704-0888 or reach out to him online with your questions.

Mark Rubinstein

Attorney Mark S. Rubinstein has been practicing law for more than 30 years, including 25 years in Colorado. He founded Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C., in Carbondale after working for law firms in Denver and earlier in his career in San Diego. He focuses his practice in the areas of criminal defense and personal injury representation, and he is well known throughout western Colorado as an effective and unwavering advocate for his clients.