The Texas Law of Criminal Attempt
An arrest for a "Criminal Attempt" in the state of Texas means that the police have made an arrest because they believe a person tried but failed to commit a crime. A "Criminal Attempt" is always linked with some other offense, and shares the “specific intent” to commit that offense. Another requirement is that the perpetrator do something that amounts to more than just preparation to commit the offense. More detailed information about Criminal Attempts is below.
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Criminal Attempt is defined in Texas Penal Code Title 4 “Inchoate Offenses”, Chapter 15 “Preparatory Offenses.”
The offense is described in Section 15.01 of the Texas Penal Code.
(a) A person commits an offense if, with specific intent to commit an offense, he does an act amounting to more than mere preparation that tends but fails to effect the commission of the offense intended.
(b) If a person attempts an offense that may be aggravated, his conduct constitutes an attempt to commit the aggravated offense if an element that aggravates the offense accompanies the attempt.
You can be charged with Criminal Attempt if the police or prosecutors believe that each of the elements of 15.01(a) as described in the section above has been met. You can be charged with an aggravated offense if “an element that aggravates the offense accompanies the attempt.”
It is also interesting to note that you can be charged with Criminal Attempt if you actually completed the commission of the crime – the statute states specifically that “It is no defense to prosecution for criminal attempt that the offense attempted was actually committed.” This aspect of the law sometimes makes a Criminal Attempt to commit a crime that they were initially charged an attractive alternative as part of a plea bargain agreement because criminal attempts carry lower punishment ranges than completed offenses.
An offense under this section carries the punishment for an offense one category lower than the offense attempted. For example, a Criminal Attempt to Possess less than two ounces of Marijuana would be a Class C misdemeanor because the underlying offense, Possession of Marijuana less than two ounces, is a Class B misdemeanor. If the offense attempted is a state jail felony, the a conviction for attempt of that offense would be punished as a Class A misdemeanor.