Criminal Attempt in English Law

In English law, criminal attempt is the act of intending to commit a specific criminal offence, and taking steps towards its commission, but ultimately failing to carry out the offence. Attempted crimes are treated as criminal offences punishable by law.

For a person to be convicted of an attempted crime, the prosecution must prove that the individual had the intention to commit the offence and that he took a step more than merely preparatory. The intention to commit the offence must be specific, meaning that the individual must have intended to commit a particular crime, rather than simply engaging in general criminal behaviour.

Here are some examples of criminal attempt in English law:
  1. A person tries to steal a car by breaking the window and getting inside, but they are caught by a passerby before they can start the engine.
  2. A person attempts to rob a bank by entering the bank with a weapon and demanding money, but they are stopped by security guards before they can take any money.
  3. A person tries to plant a bomb in a public place with the intention of causing harm, but the bomb is discovered and defused before it can cause any damage.
  4. A person attempts to murder someone by shooting them, but the victim survives due to medical intervention.

The punishment for attempted crimes is often less severe than for completed crimes, but can still result in a substantial prison sentence, depending on the severity of the intended crime and the extent of the steps taken towards its commission. Attempted murder, for example, can carry a sentence of life imprisonment.
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