attempt

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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 ?
Clare used sometimes to walk across from his cottage (in his dressing-gown and slippers), and look at the boys disparagingly, through the window or over the fence, as if they were three wild animals whom his neighbor was attempting to tame.
I am very poor,' I said, attempting to smile, 'and have got no money.
I had no claim, and I finally resolved, and ever afterwards abided by the resolution, that my heart should never be sickened with the hopeless task of attempting to establish one.
Advise if this be worth Attempting, or to sit in darkness here Hatching vain Empires.
But the same motive which prevents my writing the dialogue of the piece in Anglo-Saxon or in Norman-French, and which prohibits my sending forth to the public this essay printed with the types of Caxton or Wynken de Worde, prevents my attempting to confine myself within the limits of the period in which my story is laid.
Allow me," said Fairholme, stepping forward, and attempting to take the umbrella.
Such are the things that men are wont to attempt, and there is honour, glory, gain, in attempting them, however full of difficulty and peril they may be; but that which thou sayest it is thy wish to attempt and carry out will not win thee the glory of God nor the blessings of fortune nor fame among men; for even if the issue he as thou wouldst have it, thou wilt be no happier, richer, or more honoured than thou art this moment; and if it be otherwise thou wilt be reduced to misery greater than can be imagined, for then it will avail thee nothing to reflect that no one is aware of the misfortune that has befallen thee; it will suffice to torture and crush thee that thou knowest it thyself.
All considerations of loss of reputation or injury to his children should be dismissed: the only question is whether he would be right in attempting to escape.
My muscles, perfectly attuned and accustomed to the force of gravity on Earth, played the mischief with me in attempting for the first time to cope with the lesser gravitation and lower air pressure on Mars.
And as to laughter, we will not expose ourselves, if you please, by attempting to laugh without a subject.
THOUGHTS PREVIOUS TO ATTEMPTING AN ESCAPE--TOBY, A FELLOW SAILOR, AGREES TO SHARE THE ADVENTURE--LAST NIGHT ABOARD THE SHIP
Early in his boyhood he had learned to form ropes by twisting and tying long grasses together, and with these he was forever tripping Tublat or attempting to hang him from some overhanging branch.