What are Inchoate Crimes?
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There are three elements that must present in any crime: the criminal act itself (Actus reus), criminal intent (mens rea), and a concurrence of the previous two. Inchoate crimes, on the other hand, are actions that are undertaken in order to complete a certain target crime, but fail. Examples of inchoate crimes include attempt, conspiracy and solicitation.
The 3 Types of Inchoate Crimes
1. Attempt to Commit a Crime
Much like it sounds, the inchoate crime of attempt ends in the failure to complete the intended crime. Mens rea along with conduct that constitutes a substantial step towards the completion of a crime is present in this inchoate crime. For example, a person who sets out to commit armed burglary and took actions toward that end, but gets caught is guilty of attempt to commit a crime. According to Arizona Revised Statute 13-1001, if the attempted crime is a class 1 felony (murder) then it is considered a class 2 felony; if it was a class 2 felony then it is considered a class 3 felony; and so on.
2. Solicitation to Commit a Crime
Solicitation is an inchoate crime that involves an individual or group seeking out other individuals to participate in a crime that constitutes a felony or misdemeanor. Perhaps the most well-known form of solicitation is prostitution. In order for solicitation to occur, a request, suggestion or encouragement to complete the crime must take place. It may also involve commanding, forcing, or inducing another person to commit a crime. In Arizona, the law states that solicitation is a class 3 felony if the offense solicited is a class 1 felony; it is a Class 4 felony if the offense solicited is a class 2 felony; and so on.
3. Conspiracy to Commit a Crime
A conspiracy occurs when two or more people agree to commit an illegal act and engage in conduct that is in furtherance of the offense. In order for criminal conspiracy charges to be made, there only needs to be proof that steps were taken to commit a specific crime, even if the crime was never perpetrated. Additionally, steps taken to commit a crime do not have to be illegal in and of themselves: they just have to indicate that those conspiring together had the intention of breaking the law. Under ARS 13-1003, “conspiracy is an offense of the same class as the most serious offense which is the object of or result of the conspiracy.” In other words, if two individuals conspired to commit murder but never actually committed the murder, they would still be charged with a class 1 felony.
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