Charged With A Crime? It Doesn’t Mean You’re Guilty.

Is an “Attempt to Commit a Crime” so Bad?

| Feb 21, 2014 | Attempt to Commit a Crime |

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“Well, I didn’t actually do it.” I’ve heard this before when new clients come to my office. What they don’t realize is that Attempt to commit a crime can be nearly as bad as doing it. Imagine the bank robber caught in the act. Or picture the employee caught forging a payroll check to a nonexistent employee. In each instance, Colorado law looks to our Criminal Attempt law: C.R.S. 18-2-101.

What is Criminal Attempt?

C.R.S. 18-2-101 provides, “a person commits criminal attempt if, acting with the kind of culpability otherwise required for commission of an offense, he engages in conduct constituting a substantial step toward the commission of the offense.” This “substantial step” phrase often becomes the key point of our inquiry in an Attempt to commit a crime case in Arapahoe, Douglas or Jefferson County. Does what our client did constitute a “substantial step”? Let me illustrate: First, consider the guy who went into Home Depot or Lowes to steal a lawn mower. He looked around, found the model he liked, and scoped out a method to steal the item later on. Next, compare this to the guy who came in, examined the mowers, took a boxed mower and put it on a cart, and had walked through an empty checkout stand with the mower, but stopped just before exiting the store because he saw an employee waiting for him outside. Since the second man did not leave the store yet, he probably would not be charged with theft, but only Attempted Theft.

Criminal Attempt Classifications

Police and DAs can add “attempted” to any crime: Attempted Sexual Assault, Attempted Robbery, Attempted Murder, etc. As a society, we can’t just punish completed crimes. Imagine the consequences of doing that. However, we can make the crime and punishment less severe. In Denver, Jefferson and Adams County Colorado, an Attempt is charged slightly less harsh than commission of the actual crime. For example, an attempt to a class 1 felony is a class 2 felony; an attempt to a class 2 felony is a class 3 felony; an attempt to a class 3 is a class 4 felony; an attempt to a class 4 is a class 5 felony; and attempting a class 5 or 6 is a class 6 felony. It is the same with misdemeanors: an attempt to a class 1 misdemeanor is a class 2 misdemeanor, and an attempt to commit a class 2 or 3 misdemeanor is a class 3.

Since an Attempt can result in a prison or jail sentence, always be smart and exercise your right to remain silent. Call us at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.