The Criminal Attempt crime in the state of Texas gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you tried to commit a crime but did the offense that you tried to commit was never completed.
Criminal Attempt therefore is always coupled with some other offense. It requires a “specific intent” to commit a crime and you have to do more than just preparation. Learn more detailed information about the Criminal Attempt offense below.
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Criminal Attempt is classified in the Texas Penal Code under Title 4 “Inchoate Offenses”, Chapter 15 “Preparatory Offenses.”
The offense is described in Section 15.01 of the Texas Penal Code.1
(a) A person commits an offense if, with specific intent to commit an offense, he does an act amounting to more than mere preparation that tends but fails to effect the commission of the offense intended.
(b) If a person attempts an offense that may be aggravated, his conduct constitutes an attempt to commit the aggravated offense if an element that aggravates the offense accompanies the attempt.
You can be charged with Criminal Attempt if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 15.01(a) as described in the section above have been met. You can be charged with an aggravated offense if “an element that aggravates the offense accompanies the attempt.”
You can also be charged with Criminal Attempt if you actually completed the commission of the crime – the statute states specifically that “It is no defense to prosecution for criminal attempt that the offense attempted was actually committed.”2 Because of this, sometimes people plea to Criminal Attempt of a crime that they were initially charged with committing as part of a plea bargain agreement.
An offense under this section is charged one category lower than the offense attempted.3
For example, Criminal Attempt of Possession of less than two ounces of Marijuana would be a Class C misdemeanor because the underlying offense, Possession of Marijuana less than two ounces is a Class B misdemeanor. If the offense attempted is a state jail felony, the a conviction for attempt of that offense would be punished as a Class A misdemeanor.
2 Texas Penal Code §15.01(c)
3 Texas Penal Code §15.01(d)