Generally, an inchoate offense, or inchoate crime, is the crime of preparing for or seeking to commit another crime. One common example of an inchoate offense is conspiracy. Inchoate crimes are deemed criminal without the actual harm being done, provided that the harm that would have occurred but for something stopping or preventing the crime from being completed.
Every inchoate crime must have a level of intent. Absent a specific law, an inchoate crime requires that the defendant have the specific intent to commit the underlying crime. For example, for a defendant to be guilty of the inchoate crime of solicitation, the defendant must intend the underlying crime to occur. Specific intent may be inferred from the circumstances surrounding the offense.
In Arizona, there are four inchoate crimes, and they are listed in ARS § 13-1001 et seq., and they are:
13-1001. Attempt; classifications
A. A person commits attempt if, acting with the kind of culpability otherwise required for commission of an offense, such person:
1. Intentionally engages in conduct which would constitute an offense if the attendant circumstances were as such person believes them to be; or
2. Intentionally does or omits to do anything which, under the circumstances as such person believes them to be, is any step in a course of conduct planned to culminate in commission of an offense; or
3. Engages in conduct intended to aid another to commit an offense, although the offense is not committed or attempted by the other person, provided his conduct would establish his complicity under chapter 3 if the offense were committed or attempted by the other person.
B. It is no defense that it was impossible for the person to aid the other party’s commission of the offense, provided such person could have done so had the circumstances been as he believed them to be.
C. Attempt is a:
1. Class 2 felony if the offense attempted is a class 1 felony.
2. Class 3 felony if the offense attempted is a class 2 felony.
3. Class 4 felony if the offense attempted is a class 3 felony.
4. Class 5 felony if the offense attempted is a class 4 felony.
5. Class 6 felony if the offense attempted is a class 5 felony.
6. Class 1 misdemeanor if the offense attempted is a class 6 felony.
7. Class 2 misdemeanor if the offense attempted is a class 1 misdemeanor.
8. Class 3 misdemeanor if the offense attempted is a class 2 misdemeanor.
9. Petty offense if the offense attempted is a class 3 misdemeanor or petty offense.
13-1002. Solicitation; classifications
A. A person, other than a peace officer acting in his official capacity within the scope of his authority and in the line of duty, commits solicitation if, with the intent to promote or facilitate the commission of a felony or misdemeanor, such person commands, encourages, requests or solicits another person to engage in specific conduct which would constitute the felony or misdemeanor or which would establish the other’s complicity in its commission.
B. Solicitation is a:
1. Class 3 felony if the offense solicited is a class 1 felony.
2. Class 4 felony if the offense solicited is a class 2 felony.
3. Class 5 felony if the offense solicited is a class 3 felony.
4. Class 6 felony if the offense solicited is a class 4 felony.
5. Class 1 misdemeanor if the offense solicited is a class 5 felony.
6. Class 2 misdemeanor if the offense solicited is a class 6 felony.
7. Class 3 misdemeanor if the offense solicited is a misdemeanor.
13-1003. Conspiracy; classification
A. A person commits conspiracy if, with the intent to promote or aid the commission of an offense, such person agrees with one or more persons that at least one of them or another person will engage in conduct constituting the offense and one of the parties commits an overt act in furtherance of the offense, except that an overt act shall not be required if the object of the conspiracy was to commit any felony upon the person of another, or to commit an offense under section 13-1508 or 13-1704.
B. If a person guilty of conspiracy, as defined in subsection A of this section, knows or has reason to know that a person with whom such person conspires to commit an offense has conspired with another person or persons to commit the same offense, such person is guilty of conspiring to commit the offense with such other person or persons, whether or not such person knows their identity.
C. A person who conspires to commit a number of offenses is guilty of only one conspiracy if the multiple offenses are the object of the same agreement or relationship and the degree of the conspiracy shall be determined by the most serious offense conspired to.
D. Conspiracy to commit a class 1 felony is punishable by a sentence of life imprisonment without possibility of release on any basis until the service of twenty-five years, otherwise, conspiracy is an offense of the same class as the most serious offense which is the object of or result of the conspiracy.
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