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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:

  1. The defendant had the specific intent to commit the substantive crime.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Case Results » Attempt to Commit a Crime
  • Threatening To Commit A Crime Charges Dismissed Prior To Arraignment

    Salem District Court: The prosecution alleged that on March 14, 2011 Salem, Massachusetts police responded to a call from a tow truck driver. The driver reported to them that while plowing a narrow residential street he and a resident became engaged in a verbal dispute over the removal of snow. The driver further told the police that the defendant stated that he was going to go into his house to get his Smith and Wesson and "take care of" the tow truck driver. The driver became afraid. The defendant was summonsed to court for an arraignment for the crime of Threatening to Commit a Crime. Today, Attorney Neyman was able to get the case dismissed prior to arraignment.

  • Charges of Threatening to Commit a Crime to be dismissed after Clerk's Hearing

    Cambridge District Court, Police Incident Number: 10-0478. The prosecution alleged that on January 22, 2010 a Cambridge police officer was dispatched to an address on Harvard Street for a report of a disturbance between neighbors. Officers met with the complainant who stated that the defendant was threatening them, using profanity and stating that he was going to cause them serious physical harm. Other occupants of the building had similar complaints and corroborated the complaint of the initial victim. The defendant was summonsed to court for a clerk's hearing. He hired our office. All charges are to be dismissed in six months. No complaint will issue.

  • Charges of Attempting to Commit a Crime and Possession of Burglarious Instruments Dismissed, Charges of Trespass, Malicious Destruction to Property Less Than $250 to be dismissed

    Gardner District Court Docket Number: 09-0671. On June 29, 2009 while on routine patrol police in Petersham, Massachusetts observed two individuals attempting to pry open the door of an abandoned inn owned by the town. The officer approached the defendant and his accomplice who admitted to attempting to gain entry to the property. The officer also found a multipurpose tool used to force entry into locked properties in the defendant's possession. The defendant was charged with two felonies and two misdemeanors. Today Attorney Neyman was able to get the felony charges dismissed against our client. The misdemeanor charges were continued without a finding for six months. If our client remains free from criminal trouble in the next six months those charges will be dismissed as well.

Client Reviews
"We went to trial and won. He saved me fifteen years mandatory in state prison for this case." A.C. Boston, Massachusetts
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"The best criminal defense lawyer in Massachusetts. Takes all of his client's calls at any time of the day or night. He was always there for me and my family. Steve saved my life." Jacquille D. Brockton, Massachusetts
"In less than two months Stephen Neyman got my old conviction vacated. I now have no criminal record." Paul W. Boston, Massachusetts