When Can You Be Charged With Attempting a Crime?

By Carlos Gamino. Click here for the audio version.

Wisconsin police can arrest you and take you to jail for only attempting to commit a crime – even if you don’t succeed at committing it. Here’s what you need to know about attempted crime and the penalties associated with various attempted offenses.

When Can You Be Charged With Attempting a Crime?

Attempting a crime means a person tried to commit a crime but didn’t necessarily succeed in pulling it off. For example, if a person walks into a bank, waves a gun and tells the teller to give them all the cash, but the teller doesn’t do so, the person didn’t actually rob the bank; however, they did attempt the robbery.

Related: Do the police have to read you your rights?

That person can be charged with and convicted of attempted robbery. Under Wisconsin law, there a specific penalties for attempted crimes. In many cases, you can be sent to prison for up to half the time that you would be sentenced to if you had completed the crime. For example, if you had committed the crime and the judge could have sentenced you to 20 years in prison, an attempted offense could get you 10 years behind bars. However, there are plenty of exceptions to that, such as when you’re subject to penalty enhancers that increase the sentence. You can also be sentenced to extended supervision and fines, just as you would if you had successfully completed the crime.

In other cases, you can be charged with and convicted of the complete crime – even if you don’t succeed. Every case (and every criminal offense) is different.

Related: Why you should have an attorney present during questioning

What to Do if You’re Accused of Attempting a Crime

If the state of Wisconsin has charged you with an attempted crime, you may want to talk to a Wisconsin criminal defense lawyer. Our team may be able to help you – just call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule your free consultation now. We’ll ask you some questions about the situation and evaluate your case, and then we’ll give you the legal advice you need to move forward.

Attorney Carlos Gamino