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, it is called 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 way 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 the control of the perpetrator.

Commission of attempted crimes
Commission of attempted crimes

Article 16.1 of the Penal Code mentions that:

There is an attempt at the moment in which the individual begins to carry out the crime directly through external actions, practicing all or part of the acts that should lead to the results and, however, this is not obtained due to circumstances beyond the control of the author.

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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 punishability 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 attempted murder.

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

Conditions to determine attempted crime

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

1. The subject executes all external actions that constitute the crime, there being fraud and all the subjective components of said crime.

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

3.       The result is not achieved for reasons beyond the control of the author. If the result is achieved, it would be the presence of a completed crime.

The criminal consequences of attempted crime

Generally, the attempted execution of the crime is sentenced with a punishment lower by one or two degrees than that established for the crime committed. According to the theory, the more actions taken to achieve the completion 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 a punishment lower by one or two degrees than that stipulated by the Law for the completed crime, in the extension considered appropriate, emphasizing the risk inherent to the attempt and the level of completion. accomplished.

Types of attempted crime

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

Attempt over

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

Unfinished attempt

The subject carries out 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, the result cannot be obtained due to a cause external to the perpetrator.

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 illusory crime or imaginary crime. In this case, the individual considers that he is carrying out an illegal act, however, the actions he takes are legal. In this sense, there is no danger to the protected legal asset 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 the stage of consummation of the crime, but without actually carrying it out. Therefore, there must be intention to carry out the crime and the absence of voluntary abandonment of said action. In the latter case, there would be an attempted crime.

The crime is in the execution stage when:

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

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

· The facts lead univocally to 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 the crime is committed, the preparatory acts go unpunished. This is because what is punishable, according to the Penal Code, are committed crimes and attempted crimes.

2. On the other hand, in many situations it is not so easy to distinguish between principles of execution 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 temporary closeness that constitute harmless acts, among others.


In accordance with everything stated above, it is important to keep in mind that the act of attempted crime refers to the performance of all the acts that involve the crime without achieving the intended result.

In simpler words, the subject carries out all the actions with the aim of consummating a crime, however, for some reason 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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