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Attempt to Commit a Crime
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 274 Section 6 makes attempt to commit a crime a crime in itself. To convict a defendant of this offense, the prosecutor must prove each of the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant had the specific intent to commit the substantive crime.
- The defendant took an act towards committing that crime. To satisfy this element the prosecutor must prove that the defendant took a specific overt act that was part of the execution of the crime and that the defendant came reasonably close to executing the crime. An overt act is a physical action. Plans, discussions and other remote actions do not constitute overt acts, nor do first steps taken where there is still a possibility that the prospective criminal may change his mind and further acts are needed. An overt act is a move towards actually committing the offense. Although an overt act must be of the type that a reasonable person would expect to set off the events that would naturally result in accomplishing the crime but for an unforeseen interference, it does not have to make the crime's actual commission inevitable. For example, shooting at a person with a gun not aimed straight is an attempt, whereas shooting a post mistaken for a person is not.
- The defendant's act failed or was intercepted or prevented in its perpetration. In other words, this means that the specific crime was not completed.
The potential punishments for attempt to commit a crime vary depending on the attempted substantive crime. If you are convicted of attempt to commit a crime punishable with death, you face up to ten years in the state prison. You face up to five years in the state prison or up to two and one half years in a jail or house of correction if you are convicted of attempt to commit a crime (except larceny) punishable by five or more years in state prison. If you are convicted of attempt to commit a crime (except larceny) punishable by less than five years in state prison, imprisonment in a jail or a fine, you face a potential year in jail or a fine up to $300. You face up to two and one-half years in jail, or a fine, or both if you are convicted of attempt to commit any larceny.An Allegation of an Attempt to Commit a Crime in Massachusetts May Be Dismissed at a Clerk Magistrate Hearing
Sometimes an allegation that someone attempted to commit a crime is addressed at a Clerk Magistrate Hearing. If you get a summons for that type of proceeding you have a good chance of avoiding a prosecution altogether if you are properly represented. The clerk magistrate often screens cases to keep the criminal docket manageable. Having an experience criminal defense represent you at one of these proceedings on the crime of attempt to commit a crime is a good move on your part.
The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman P.C. has the expertise and perseverance to fight any criminal charge. If you have been charged with attempt to commit a crime or any other offense, call our office at 617-263-6800 or contact us online today.