Inchoate Criminal Offenses
There are certain offenses that are highly punishable under the law that may not necessarily harm anybody, but provided sufficient proof that harm would have or could have occurred. Known as inchoate offenses, criminals may be punished if they seriously conspire to commit a crime, even though no one was actually injured. As a result of the lack of actual damage to a person or property, there are some unique characteristics of inchoate violations.
As the actions of the crimes themselves are missing, the intention to commit a crime is an extremely important part of inchoate offenses. Without an intent to cause injury or an illustration of recklessness, these crimes cannot be committed, as there must be someone to conspire against or solicit with. This does not necessarily need to be proven, however. In the case of certain offenses, the intent to cause damage may be inherent in the crime, and can automatically be assumed.
In order to combat inchoate charges, there are two major defense strategies that are employed. Proving that harm would have been impossible is one legitimate legal defense in certain circumstances. Although the majority of states have ruled out the possibility of impossibility defenses on the basis of something being factually impossible, it remains applicable in other locations. Essentially, the defense stands that a person cannot conspire to commit a crime that would be entirely impossible.
In addition to the impossibility defense, abandoning the conspiracy, attempt, or solicitation may be a defense against these charges. This not only includes dropping out of all activities related to the crime, but attempting to get any co-conspirators or individuals linked to the crime to additionally drop their courses of action. This may include tipping off the police to the plans and individuals involved if stopping co-conspirators is unsuccessful.
To learn more about defenses in cases involving inchoate charges, contact a criminal defense attorney.