“Inchoate Crimes” are a group of offenses that do not require the full completion of the intended criminal act. There are three types of these offenses: attempts, solicitation, and conspiracy. While each of these three offenses are related, each requires a different kind of proof. An attempt is made when a person does an act intending to commit a crime, but does not complete that offense. A good example is attempted murder: the defendant fires a shot at someone with the intent to kill, but misses the person. A person commits the offense of solicitation when they ask another person to commit an offense for them. The classic example is hiring an individual to kill someone on your behalf. The mere act of asking the other person to commit the offense is a criminal offense. A conspiracy is, broadly speaking, an agreement among two or more people to engage in criminal conduct. For example, if several people sit together and plan a bank robbery, even if no robbery occurs, they have committed the offense of criminal conspiracy.
Importantly, it is a defense to a charge of criminal attempt, criminal solicitation, or criminal conspiracy if the defendant can show that he abandoned the intent to commit the offense, prevented its commission, or persuaded the co-conspirators not to commit the offense.
The general rule is that inchoate crimes are felonies that are one degree less than the fully completed offense (for example, a burglary of a dwelling is a second degree felony punishable by 15 years in prison, whereas an attempted burglary of a dwelling would be a third degree felony punishable by 5 years in prison). There are many statutory exceptions to this general rule.
The above definitions are fairly broad and there are many elements that the State Attorney must prove in order to successfully convict an individual under these statutes. If you or someone you know has been arrested and charged with any of these offenses, reach out to me immediately!
Attempt – Fla. Stat. 777.04(1)
A person who attempts to commit an offense prohibited by law and in such attempt does any act toward the commission of such offense, but fails in the perpetration or is intercepted or prevented in the execution thereof, commits the offense of criminal attempt, ranked for purposes of sentencing as provided in subsection (4). Criminal attempt includes the act of an adult who, with intent to commit an offense prohibited by law, allures, seduces, coaxes, or induces a child under the age of 12 to engage in an offense prohibited by law.
Jury Instruction 5.1 (link will download)
Solicitation – Fla. Stat. 777.04(2)
A person who solicits another to commit an offense prohibited by law and in the course of such solicitation commands, encourages, hires, or requests another person to engage in specific conduct which would constitute such offense or an attempt to commit such offense commits the offense of criminal solicitation, ranked for purposes of sentencing as provided in subsection (4).
Jury Instruction 5.2 (link will download)
Conspiracy – Fla. Stat. 777.04(3)
A person who agrees, conspires, combines, or confederates with another person or persons to commit any offense commits the offense of criminal conspiracy, ranked for purposes of sentencing as provided in subsection (4).
Jury Instruction 5.3 (link will download)