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Falling short of a crime may still lead to charges in Michigan

News reports about someone being arrested on suspicion of a crime often mention that the person was taken into custody on suspicion of an attempted crime. That concept may seem strange when you think about it: falling short of committing a crime is often, in itself, a crime.

The elements of attempt vary, depending on the state, but in general there are two elements that prosecutors must show to convict someone of an attempted crime, such as attempted embezzlement or attempted sexual assault. First, the defendant must have had actual intent to commit the crime, a legal concept known as specific intent. Generally, merely intending to hurt a person is not considered specific intent to kill him or her, so an attempted murder charge would not be appropriate.

Secondly, authorities must show that the accused individual took direct action toward completion of the crime. For example, a person accused of attempting to rob a bank might be said to have taken sufficient steps toward the robbery by finding a getaway driver or purchasing a firearm. However, in some states the defendant must have gone beyond “mere preparation” to have committed an attempted crime.

Though an attempt crime may seem to be less serious that a completed crime, a guilty verdict or plea can still result in a prison sentence and other heavy penalties. To counter the government’s claims that you have committed an attempt crime, your best course of action is hiring a criminal defense attorney to handle your case.

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