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Attempt

An undertaking to do an act that entails more than mere preparation but does not result in the successful completion of the act.

In Criminal Law, an attempt to commit a crime is an offense when an accused makes a substantial but unsuccessful effort to commit a crime. The elements of attempt vary, although generally, there must be an intent to commit the crime, an Overt Act beyond mere preparation, and an apparent ability to complete the crime.

Generally, attempts are punishable by imprisonment, with sentence lengths that vary in time, depending upon the severity of the offense attempted.

attempt

v. and n. to actually try to commit a crime and have the ability to do so. This means more than just thinking about doing a criminal act or planning it without overt action. It also requires the opportunity and ability. Attempts can include attempted murder, attempted robbery, attempted rape, attempted forgery, attempted arson, and a host of other crimes. The person accused cannot attempt to commit murder with an unloaded gun or attempt rape over the telephone. The attempt becomes a crime in itself, and usually means one really tried to commit the crime, but failed through no fault of himself or herself. Example: if a husband laces his wife's cocktail with cyanide, it is no defense that by chance the intended victim decided not to drink the deadly potion. One defendant claimed he could not attempt rape in an old Model A coupe because it was too cramped to make the act possible. The court threw out this defense. Sometimes a criminal defendant is accused of both the crime (e.g. robbery) and the attempt in case the jury felt he tried but did not succeed.

attempt

verb aim at, assay, be at work, be in action, bid for, carry on, conari, do one's best, do the needful, drive at, employ oneself, endeavor, essay, exert oneself, go after, go all out for, intend, labor for, make a bid, make a try, make an effort at, make the effort, ply one's task, pursue, put forth an effort, quest, seek to, set out to, strive, take on, temptare, test, try, try hard, try one's best, undertake, use one's best endeavors, venture
Associated concepts: attempt to commit a crime, attempt to defraud, attempt to prove, conspiracy, failure of intended act, preparatory acts, renunciation
Foreign phrases: Affectus punitur licet non sequatur effectus.The intention is punished although the intended reeult does not follow. Non officit conatus nisi sequatur effectus. An attempt does not harm unless a consequence follows. In maleficiis voluntas spectatur, non exitus. In criminal of fenses, the intention and not the result must be regarded. Officit conatus si effectus sequatur. The attempt becomes of consequence, if the ef fect follows.
See also: assume, conatus, effort, endeavor, enterprise, experiment, project, pursue, pursuit, strive, struggle, trial, undertake, undertaking, venture, work

attempt

an attempted crime is one that is not completed. Because the criminal law focuses so much on the mental state of the offender, it has long been established that a mere failure to carry through the act intended by the wrongdoer will not allow him to escape criminal liability. To be criminal, matters must have progressed from preparation to perpetration: thus, the purchase of a mask and a glass-cutting tool maybe insufficient whereas wandering the streets at night, mask on face and cutter in hand, might be enough. A hand in a pocket, which never reaches the wallet, is an attempted theft.

In England, the common law was supplemented by statute to create a statutory offence of attempt. This applies to any act that is done with intent to commit an indictable offence and is more than merely preparatory. It is a crime even to attempt the impossible.

In Scotland, in terms of statute all attempts to commit a crime are criminal offences. It is attempted theft even if there is nothing in the pocket to steal, although it was held not possible to attempt to procure an abortion by supplying the necessary materials where the woman was not in fact pregnant.

ATTEMPT, criminal law. An attempt to commit a crime, is an endeavor to accomplish it, carried beyond mere preparation, but falling short of execution of the ultimate design, in any part of it.
     2. Between preparations and attempts to commit a crime, the distinction is in many cases, very indeterminate. A man who buys poison for the purpose of committing a murder, and mixes it in the food intended for his victim, and places it on a table where he may take it, will or will not be guilty of an attempt to poison, from the simple circumstance of his taking back the poisoned food before or after the victim has had an opportunity to take it; for if immediately on putting it down, he should take it up, and, awakened to a just consideration of the enormity of the crime, destroy it, this would amount only to preparations and certainly if before he placed it on the table, or before he mixed the poison with the food, he had repented of his intention there would have been no attempt to commit a crime; the law gives this as a locus penitentiae. An attempt to commit a crime is a misdemeanor; and an attempt to commit a misdemeanor, is itself a misdemeanor. 1 Russ. on Cr. 44; 2 East, R. 8; 3 Pick. R. 26; 3 Benth. Ev. 69; 6 C. & P. 368.

References in classic literature ?
And this had been the end of all the other brave men who like himself had attempted the ascent.
Had the convention attempted a positive enumeration of the powers necessary and proper for carrying their other powers into effect, the attempt would have involved a complete digest of laws on every subject to which the Constitution relates; accommodated too, not only to the existing state of things, but to all the possible changes which futurity may produce; for in every new application of a general power, the PARTICULAR POWERS, which are the means of attaining the OBJECT of the general power, must always necessarily vary with that object, and be often properly varied whilst the object remains the same.
Another, older and less strong than he, had attempted what he had not had sufficient resolution to undertake, and had failed only because of an error in calculation.
When he attempted to retake the deserters, the Crow warriors ruffled up to him and declared the deserters were their good friends, had determined to remain among them, and should not be molested.
Still bent, however, on pushing forward, they attempted to climb the opposing mountains; and struggled on through the snow for half a day until, coming to where they could command a prospect, they found that they were not half way to the summit, and that mountain upon mountain lay piled beyond them, in wintry desolation.
If a man perform that, which hath not been attempted before; or attempted and given over; or hath been achieved, but not with so good circumstance; he shall purchase more honor, than by effecting a matter of greater difficulty or virtue, wherein he is but a follower.
Only man could have placed that collar there, and as no race of Martians of which we knew aught ever had attempted to domesticate the ferocious apt, he must belong to a people of the north of whose very existence we were ignorant--possibly to the fabled yellow men of Barsoom; that once powerful race which was supposed to be extinct, though sometimes, by theorists, thought still to exist in the frozen north.
He attempted to obviate this by plastering himself from head to foot with mud, but this dried and fell off.
They had not long to wait, for though the Lotharian attempted to hold the girl between himself and the terrible fangs, the great beast found him at last.
The occasion was to serve as an object-lesson to all other slaves of the danger and futility of attempted escape, and the fatal consequences of taking the life of a superior being, and so I imagine that Sagoths felt amply justified in making the entire proceeding as uncomfortable and painful to us as possible.
The Englishman attempted to dissuade him, but immediately the black became threatening and abusive, since, like all those who are ignorant, he was suspicious that the intentions of others were always ulterior unless they perfectly coincided with his wishes.
He attempted to learn from Akut what had become of the black, fearing that the beasts, freed from the restraint of Tarzan's presence, might have fallen upon the man and devoured him; but to all his questions the great ape but pointed back in the direction from which they had come out of the jungle.