Attempted Crimes (PC 21a) in Aliso Viejo

In the city of Aliso Viejo, if you intend to commit a crime and then take action toward committing the crime, you can be charged under Penal Code 21a. An attempted crimes conviction doesn’t require you to be successful in committing the attempted crime. The offender must have specific intent, otherwise known as the actual intent to perform something as well as the possible consequences for it, to commit the crime. A common example of attempted crime is in the case of attempted murder, where someone extensively plans the murder of another, but falls short. Examples of evidence that would point to them having the full intentions of killing them would be the purchasing of suspicious tools that would be used in committing the murder, possession of a plan detailing how the murder would occur, or possession of the murder weapon they would have used specifically for that purpose.

Another example of attempted crime is getting caught by the security guard after attempting to steal something from a store. A person can be charged after they have decided that they are going to commit the crime, but before actually completing it or succeeding. This can also happen when someone decides to not commit the crime anymore after taking steps For example, they might have gotten nervous after going into the store, even though they previously had the full intentions of committing that crime. However, an essential part of that is that the offender does take steps towards completing or succeeding with the crime.

According to PC 21a, you must have intent to commit a crime and then actually take action towards committing the crime. If all you do is to prepare for the crime but do not take action, then you can be charged for conspiracy but not attempted crimes.

Penalties and Possible Defenses

Penalties for the attempted crime are usually dependent on the penalties for the underlying crime. The basic rules are as follows:

  • You cannot be sentenced to jail or prison for a term that is more than half what you would have been charged for the underlying crime. For example, if the underlying crime was punishable with a 1-year prison sentence, then you cannot be sentenced to more than 6-months in prison.
  • If the underlying crime is punishable with life imprisonment or the death penalty, then the penalty for the attempted crime will be 5, 7 or 9 years in jail.

Possible defenses for attempted crimes charges include:

  • No direct steps were taken towards committing the crime
    • If the offender were to just be thinking about committing a crime, then that is not enough reason to be convicted.
  • There was no intention to commit the underlying crime
  • The accused was wrongly identified
  • The prosecution doesn’t have sufficient evidence
  • The arresting officer made an unlawful arrest and violated your constitutional rights

Having a capable and persuasive attorney who can convincingly argue your case is important if you want to avoid the penalties associated with PC 21a.

Johnson Criminal Law Group will help you defend your attempted crime.

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