Planning or attempting to commit a criminal act is considered a criminal
act in itself. This is called an inchoate offense or inchoate crime. The
word inchoate actually means incomplete, meaning the criminal was unable
to complete the crime to its fullest extent. The act of preparing to commit
an offense or an “attempt” is considered a criminal case and
is punishable by law. The definition or characteristic of such a crime
is conduct that is criminal without actual harm being done, and being
to stop such a crime is to prevent another one from occurring.
Participation in a crime
Inchoate crimes cover direct or indirect participation in the criminal
activity. Being an accessory, such as accessory to
murder, is also considered an inchoate crime. These kinds of offenses used to
be minor, but as cases began to increase in severity, the severity of
punishments also began to increase. This shifted the grade of inchoate
crimes from misdemeanors to
In law, there are different inchoate offenses, with the three basic ones
being (1) attempt, (2) solicitation, and (3)
Attempt, solicitation, and conspiracy
The first, attempt, the closest the criminal got to committing the crime.
Verbal threats can likewise be considered an attempt to inflict harm upon
another person. Cases like this can be seen in attempted robbery or
murder, wherein the criminal was caught trying to commit the crime but stopped
before it could actually happen. Solicitation is basically asking another
person to commit the crime. Even if the person who was asked to commit
the crime did not go through with it, the first person can still be charged
with solicitation- especially if the second person acts as a material witness.
conspiracy means agreeing to commit a crime. A charge of conspiracy can be added
on top of another charge, if the crime was committed. You can find this
kind of case where a person is charged with both murder and conspiracy
to commit murder. An sample of a case like this can involve person A who
plans with person B to kill person C. Person A can be charged with solicitation
and person B can be charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Person B is called the principle and person A is the accomplice.
Mens rea: intent
Mens rea, meaning intent, is one of elements that need to be proven in
order to convict someone of a crime. Particularly in inchoate offenses,
proving mens rea or the presence of intent along with evidenciary support
is at the forefront of the prosecution’s case. Filing a case of
attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy becomes quite difficult if there
is no hard evidence that a crime was being planned, this, some form of
outward action or a “substantial step” (like a written or
verbal order, or even a transfer of money between person A and B) needs
to have been taken by the defendant in order to get a conviction.
At Kyle Law Firm, we specialize in criminal cases – inchoate crimes
included. Set up a meeting with our highly qualified team of lawyers today.