In Georgia, a person is guilty of criminal attempt when they have attempted to commit a specific crime. To attempt a crime means that the person has taken a substantial step toward committing the crime.
What Does It Mean to Take a Substantial Step Towards a Crime in Georgia?
Taking a substantial step means a person does more than just plan to commit the crime. For instance, they may point a gun at the victim if they intended to murder the victim or try to start a fire if they are intending to commit arson.
Is Attempt the Same Criminal Act as Conspiracy in Georgia?
No. The crime of conspiracy is the act of two or more people agreeing to commit another crime. The people do not always need to take a substantial step toward committing the crime to be guilty of conspiracy.
Can I Be Convicted of Both Attempting a Crime and the Completed Crime?
No. A person may not be convicted of criminal attempt and the completed crime in Georgia. This is because Georgia follows the doctrine of merger. According to the doctrine of merger, a person cannot be charged for attempting to commit a crime once they have successfully committed that crime. For instance, a person accused of murder will only be charged with murder in Georgia, not attempted murder and murder.
What Is the Penalty for Attempting to Commit a Felony Where the Punishment is Life in Prison?
In Georgia, a person charged with criminal attempt for a felony punishable by life in prison is not going to receive a life prison sentence. Instead, they will face one to 30 years in prison.
What Is the Punishment for an Attempt Conviction for Any Other Crime in Georgia?
The punishment for any other attempt conviction depends on the specific crime they are charged with trying to do. The penalty for attempting a felony crime where the punishment:
- A prison sentence consisting of at least one year up to half of the maximum time a person would receive for committing the underlying crime
- One half of the maximum fine a person would face for the underlying crime
A person who is accused of attempting to commit a misdemeanor faces the same punishment that they would have faced if they had actually committed the misdemeanor.
Do I Need an Attorney?
Defending yourself against an accusation of attempting to commit a crime is a difficult task, unless you have legal assistance. Contact a Georgia attorney immediately for help with your case.