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How Do You Prove An Attempted Crime In California?

If you're charged with an attempt crime in California, you may be trying to figure out exactly what evidence the government needs in order to prove the case against you. Basically, attempting to do the crime is taking a substantial step towards its commission, with obviously the intent to commit the crime, but then falling short for some reason or another of actually committing the crime.

So, that would be attempt of the crime versus actually the crime itself. A lot of times the punishment for attempt crimes is half of what the normal crime would be if it was completed. But, make no doubt about it – an attempt crime is just as serious, especially if it's a felony – as the crime itself.

For example, any strike that is an attempt crime, is still a strike. So, for example, if you attempt to do a robbery but

you fall short and they convict you for attempted robbery, you're going to have a strike on your record.

You can also be sent to prison for an attempt crime. It's a full-fledged felony if it's charged as a felony and you're convicted of a felony, either by way of a jury trial or by way of some sort of a plea agreement.

Substantial Step Towards Committing a Crime

The issue in these attempt crimes in Los Angeles courts boils down to whether or not you took a substantial step towards the commission of some target crime. For example, let's say that you're accused of attempted burglary. The question is going to be – did you take some steps towards burglarizing someone's home or business or car, for example?

The way they're going to prove that is by circumstantial evidence. In other words, if you're outside somebody's house, it's at night, you have a mask on, you have no reason to be there, you have burglary tools in your possession, you're heading in there to attempt to break into the house and somehow things are foiled.

You have a sack around our waist ready to hold all the loot and everything, but you don't actually break the plane of any doors outside the house – that's not going to be a burglary, but they would certainly have an argument that you were attempting to burglarize the house based on the circumstantial evidence of you having all that stuff – being there when you weren't supposed to. Why would you have to mask your face?

There's a number of different factors that I just laid out that would be good evidence that you were going to burglarize the house and they could then charge you with attempted burglary and make the argument you took a substantial step towards burglarizing the house. It's not always easy and cut-and-dry as that.

Sometimes people could be doing things that normally would be innocent conduct, but somehow the police get their hands on them, charge them with the crime and claim that they were attempting to do something that they really weren't trying to do, criminal-wise.

Criminal Lawyer Review of the Evidence

Obviously, that's when you're going to need an attorney if you feel like you're innocent and feel that you are being improperly accused of some sort of an attempt crime in Los Angeles. Get in front of a criminal defense attorney. I have you come in. We sit down and go over the evidence and we talk about what the prosecutors are going to need in a jury trial to prove an attempt crime and where the problems lie for them and where the problems lie for you.

The reason you evaluate it – in an attempt crime or any crime – by going fast-forward ahead to a jury trial is because ultimately, if you don't take a deal and the prosecutors don't dismiss the case, the next step is going to be a jury trial.

That's how we settle things in our criminal justice system in Los Angeles and across the country. So, if you say, I didn't attempt to do anything. I had no intent to commit this crime. Intent is another big issue in these attempt cases. Did you really intend to commit the crime? Do they have the evidence? Do they have the circumstantial evidence?

That's where it gets a little bit complicated and confusing for people because they don't understand the concept of circumstantial evidence as it relates to attempt-related crimes in Los Angeles.

Circumstantial Evidence

Circumstantial evidence is evidence that if you look at it, you say, why would he do that? Why would he have this? Why would he have gone here? And then you start to put the pieces of the puzzle together. First, the prosecutors or police in Los Angeles need some sort of a premise. In other words, what are they claiming that you're trying to do?

Once they have that, then they need the evidence that they think shows that you were attempting to do that. They put that evidence on. A jury would ultimately listen to it. The defense would certainly be entitled to challenge the evidence, cross-examine the evidence, present their own evidence.

The defendant could testify and then the jury can decide whether or not there was an attempt crime, or whether or not the prosecutors simply have not proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

For more information on Proving An Attempted Crime In LA, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 542-0979 today.