Commission of attempted crimes


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When a crime is carried out with all the elements to define it as such, but the result intended by its author is not generated, one speaks of an attempt. It consists of an imperfect way of carrying out the criminal act and, even if the objective is not achieved, it is also condemned in the Penal Code.

What is the attempt?

It is defined as an attempt to imperfect mode of carrying out a criminal act. It is generated when a crime is carried out with all the acts without the result desired by the perpetrator being achieved for reasons beyond his control.

Commission of attempted crimes
Commission of crimes tentative

Article 16.1 of the Penal Code mentions that:

There is an attempt at the moment when the individual initiates the crime directly by external actions, practicing all or part of the facts that should lead to the results and, however, this is not obtained due to circumstances beyond the author's control.

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Where is the commission of attempted crimes regulated?

Attempted crimes are defined in various articles of the Penal Code. The regulation is as follows:

· Article 15: declaration of criminality of the attempt.

· Article 16: definition.

· Article 62: penalty.

· Article 132: penalty in the case of a victim under 18 years of age and the crime of attempt is murder.

· Article 485: attempted murder of members of the true family.

Conditions to determine the attempted crime

For an attempted crime to be carried out, certain conditions must be met:

1. The subject performs all external actions that constitute the offense, existing fraud and all the subjective components of said crime.

2. External actions are objectively suitable for obtaining the desired result.

3.       The result is not achieved for reasons beyond the author's control. If the result is achieved, it would be in the presence of an accomplished crime.

The criminal consequences of the attempted crime

In general, the attempted execution of the crime is sentenced with a punishment one or two degrees lower than that established for the crime committed. According to the theory, the more actions carried out to achieve the consummation of the crime, the greater the risk inherent in the attempt. Therefore, the sentence reduction will be less.

He Article 62 of the Penal Code defines:

Those who carry out an attempted crime will be awarded the punishment one or two degrees lower than that stipulated by the Law for the completed crime, in the extension considered suitable, emphasizing the risk inherent to the attempt and the level of achievement achieved.

Types of attempted crime

Based on the provisions of article 16 of the Penal Code, the attempt can be categorized as follows:

finished attempt

It is the act in which the author executes all the actions without achieving the expected result.

unfinished attempt

The subject performs a part of the actions, but does not achieve the desired result.

 On the other hand, there is another subclassification of attempted crime:

suitable attempt

All the conditions of the crime are generated, however, it is not possible to obtain the result due to a cause external to the author.

Unsuitable attempt or impossible crime

The objective of the crime is not achieved because the appropriate actions are not used to obtain it. In this scenario, the attempt is punishable, since the protected judicial asset is put at risk.

putative crime

It is also known as an illusory crime or imaginary crime. In this case, the individual considers that he is carrying out an illegal act, however, the actions he carries out are legal. In this sense, there is no danger to the protected legal right and it is not considered a punishable act.

What is the difference between preparatory acts and attempt?

The attempt refers to the carrying out all the previous acts and beginning with the stage of consummation of the crime, but without actually carrying it out. Therefore, there must be intent to commit the crime and the absence of voluntary abandonment of said action. In the latter case, it would be in the presence of an attempted crime.

The crime is in the stage of execution when:

· The external actions are manifest of the desire to commit a crime.

· There is spatio-temporal closeness between the actions that will lead to the commission of the crime.

· The facts lead univocally to the execution. That is, if the act continues, the crime was committed.

The following differences can be established between the penalty for preparatory acts and for attempted crime:

1. Before committing the crime, the preparatory acts go unpunished. This since what is punishable, according to the Penal Code, are the crimes committed and the attempted crimes.

2. On the other hand, in many situations it is not so easy to distinguish between implementing principles and preparatory acts. For this reason, there are several theories about it.

3. In addition to the above, there are some mandatory conditions, but there are others that may vary, such as external acts and the temporal proximity that constitute harmless acts, among others.


In accordance with all of the above, it is important to take into account that the act of attempted crime refers to the performance of all acts that involve the crime without achieving the intended result.

In simpler words, the subject carries out all the facts in order to commit a crime, however, due to some cause beyond his control, he is unable to achieve his objective.

Finally, it is essential to be clear about the distinction between the attempt and the preparatory acts. 

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