~ ATTEMPTED CRIMES ~

According to the provisions of Penal Code § 21a, you can be found guilty and punished for an attempted crime in the exact same manner as if you had successfully committed the crime. For example, if you attempt to break into a building to commit a burglary inside and somehow can’t actually get inside to complete the burglary, you can be found guilty of the attempted crime.

Penal Code § 21a states that:

An attempt to commit a crime consists of two elements: a specific intent to commit the crime, and a direct but ineffectual act done toward its commission.

As such, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant both specifically intended to commit the crime and made some act in furtherance of that intent. Using the example above, if the Defendant was actually breaking into the building for shelter from a bad storm or for emergency medical supplies to care for some life-threatening injury, the “specific intent” to commit the crime would not exist as the intent was for personal safety and not burglary.

In the event that actual crime that was attempted fails to set forth a specific punishment for the attempt rather than the completion of that crime, Penal Code § 664 will be used to determine the punishment imposed. Generally speaking, crimes that are punished under the provisions of § 664 are one-half of the sentence that would have been imposed for the actual completion of the attempted crime.

To view the list of crimes by code section (Statute), please click here.

To return to the list of California crimes in alphabetical order, please click here.

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