Crimes that have not yet been completed but still incur some form of criminal liability are called inchoate offenses (pronounced “in-co-hate”). The term inchoate means underdeveloped. The defining quality of inchoate offenses is that they seek to prevent additional harms that have not come to pass. That is, the state seeks to prevent the commission of crimes. The Model Penal Code recognizes the inchoate offenses of (1) criminal attempt, (2) criminal solicitation, and (3) criminal conspiracy.
Criminal codes often address inchoate conduct in two different ways. First, a general attempt provision will broadly impose liability for unsuccessful efforts to commit some other target offense. Second, other particular offenses will define specific situations where conduct is criminal regardless of whether it causes harm. Inchoate crimes are rather unique in criminal law because they do not require that some social harm be done. Generally, the mental element is the intent to commit the substantive offense. The criminal act, however, is different. With these types of offenses, the act needs to be merely some step in furtherance of the crime.
Rather than have an attempt statute to match every crime (such as a statute that deals with attempted murder specifically), Arkansas has a general attempt statute that can be applied to most substantive offenses elsewhere specified in the Criminal Code.
Modification History File Created: 07/12/2018 Last Modified: 09/12/2023
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