Incomplete or inchoate crimes may sound like an oxymoron. How can it be a crime if it never even happened? However, Florida residents have likely seen this in the news and in movies. Attempted murder, for example, is a crime that wasn’t completed but still has consequences under the law. The same is true for attempted robbery. Even a conspiracy to commit a crime can land you in court.
Why incomplete crimes are prosecuted
The logic behind prosecuting inchoate or incomplete crimes relates mostly to intent. If someone intends to steal or commit a violent crime but is only prevented by circumstance, nothing changed in their mind. Their goal was always to violate the law.
Soliciting another individual to commit a crime is also a kind of incomplete crime. The person who had the idea may not have pulled the trigger or stolen the funds, but if they put the plan into motion by hiring a thief, they are still guilty of starting the ball rolling.
Defending against inchoate crimes
Incomplete crimes still require a criminal defense, just as complete ones do. There are two strategies in defending someone against charges of incomplete crimes. The first is to go for an absolute defense and seek acquittal. The second strategy is to seek to have the charges dropped down. This may involve a plea bargain and avoidance of a trial. It may also involve the attorney asking the jury to find their client guilty of a lesser crime.
If you find yourself accused of an inchoate crime, it’s important to contact an attorney. A lawyer may be able to help you understand what you’re up against and how to defend yourself.