Culp, Doran & Genest, P.L.C
Contact Us Today
Phone: 515-288-3333
Toll Free: 877-515-6615

Understanding "attempt" charges in Iowa

You may have heard of criminal convictions happening based on the defendant's attempt to commit a crime. In some cases, taking steps to commit a crime without actually carrying it out can still result in criminal penalties.

The area of attempted crimes can present complex legal questions. Speaking with your defense attorney can help you further understand how this area of law may relate to your case.

Attempt is its own crime

Iowa law generally sets forth separate penalties and definitions for attempted crimes. Attempts to commit a felony usually count as a felony as well. For some offenses, the law lists various degrees of attempt.

Which crimes have attempt provisions

Not all crimes have an equivalent attempt charge attached. An attempt can constitute a criminal offense when the definition of the main crime includes specific intent, requiring the defendant to intend a specific result

For example, many theft crimes require prosecutors to prove the defendant intended to permanently deprive another person of property. Thus, a person may face charges of larceny and/or attempted larceny. However, if a crime's definition only includes the intent to act, without regard to the outcome, that offense may lack similar attempt provisions.

What type of action constitutes an attempt

To get a conviction on attempt charges, prosecutors must show the defendant acted in preparation to commit the crime. The relationship between preliminary actions and breaking the law can present many complex issues involving both facts and law. Usually, prosecutors will have to show a close factual and logical tie. In many cases, merely obtaining the necessary means for committing the crime will not provide sufficient grounds for an attempt conviction, although some such purchases may be crimes on their own in the case of illegal materials.

Sometimes, prosecutors opt to charge defendants both with the crime and the attempted crime, reasoning that someone who completed a criminal act also prepared for it along the way. However, the jury must convict on only one of these charges.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information