A person is guilty of an attempt to commit a crime when such person, with the intention to actually commit the crime, does an act which is a substantial step toward the commission of the crime, but not the actual commission of the crime. Therefore, an attempt to commit a crime consists of two elements:
(1) an intent to engage in crime; and
(2) a conduct constituting a substantial step towards commission of the crime.
A statute may forbid an attempt to commit a specified crime. An attempt to commit a crime, when punishable, is an offense that is separate and distinct from the crime that was attempted. To qualify as a substantial step, something more than mere preparation should be done. Preparation alone, or a mere statement of the person’s intent to commit a crime, is not sufficient to constitute an attempt. However, the step should be lesser than the actual commission of the crime. To establish attempt, the alleged conduct must support the person’s criminal intention to commit the crime. The person must have engaged in some activity that is a substantial portion of the crime. An attempt must be an action on the part of the person that comes very close to the accomplishment of the desired results. A person who fails to commit the attempted crime is also regarded to have attempted to commit the crime.
Intent is an important element when determining whether an attempt to commit a crime has occurred. The person making the attempt should have the intention to complete the acts that constitutes the crime. It is the intent to commit the crime, not the possibility of success that determines whether the person’s act or omission constitutes the crime of attempt. A person can be convicted for an attempt to commit a crime only when such person has a direct and specific intent. Therefore, acts done as a result of negligence or recklessness cannot be considered as an attempt to commit the crime as there is no intention to commit the crime.