If you are trying to commit a crime and don't actually get to commit that crime, you might still face criminal charges for an attempted crime. Even though the charge that you face might not seem as serious as what was possible if you were successful in the commission of the crime, there is still a chance that you could face significant penalties and consequences if you are convicted.
When it comes to attempted crime charges, the prosecution has to show that you had the intent to commit the crime. Think about this one -- you shoot at a rival gang member and the bullet hits that person in the shoulder. The person lives, but you are now facing attempted murder charges. The prosecution would have to show that your shot at that person was made in an effort to kill the person.
There are various crimes that are associated with attempts. Attempted robbery and attempted rape are two examples. In the case of attempted robbery, you might try to rob someone but he or she didn't have anything to give you. Even though you didn't get anything, you can still be charged.
There are some crimes, such as battery, that couldn't be attempted so those wouldn't have criminal charges attached to them if you didn't successfully commit the crime. In the case of battery, you might be charged with assault if you threaten bodily harm.
Attempted crime charges can be difficult for the prosecution and the defense. If you are facing these charges, you should scrutinize every point that the prosecution is making against you. This might provide you with some fuel that you need for your defense.
Source: FindLaw, "Attempt," accessed Sep. 02, 2016