Attempt Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Attempt, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Attempt?

(v) Attempt is an intentional try to achieve a targeted result whether the expected results are attained or not. Eg. Suicide attempt.2. Attempt to kill a person, but foiled by the police. A desire or thinking is not an attempt unless there is a commencement of action.

History and Meaning of Attempt

Attempt is a legal term used to refer to an intentional and purposeful action taken towards achieving a specific goal or result, regardless of whether the goal is achieved or not. The key factor that distinguishes an attempt from mere preparation or planning is the commencement of action towards the specific objective. In the context of the law, an attempt may be punishable by law even if the outcome of the attempt is not successful.

The concept of attempt has been a part of legal systems for centuries, with different legal systems adopting their own definitions and criteria for determining when an action constitutes an attempt. In common law systems, an attempt is usually defined as an act that comes dangerously close to completing the intended crime, while in civil law systems, an attempt is defined more broadly as any action taken towards the commission of a crime, regardless of how close the action comes to completion.

Examples of Attempt

  1. John is caught burglarizing a house, but it is discovered that he had only managed to break open the front door before he was caught. He is charged with attempted burglary.
  2. Maria tries to poison her husband by lacing his drink with a toxic substance, but he notices the abnormal taste and declines to drink it. She is charged with attempted murder.
  3. Jack attempts to escape from prison by digging a tunnel under the prison yard, but he is caught before he can complete the tunnel. He is charged with attempted escape.

Legal Terms Similar to Attempt

  1. Conspiracy - a crime that involves an agreement between two or more people to commit a crime, and an overt act taken towards the commission of the crime.
  2. Solicitation - a crime that involves urging, inducing, or otherwise encouraging another person to commit a crime.
  3. Criminal intent - the mental state or intention to commit a crime, which is an essential element in many criminal offenses.