An inchoate crime is a crime that takes place when an individual is preparing to commit another crime. The crime may, in fact, never be committed. For example, a person may break and enter into a museum in order to learn the security system to steal items at a later date. In that case, breaking an entering is an inchoate crime that has been committed in conjunction with preparing for another crime.
There are many cases when a crime is an inchoate crime. For example, solicitation and conspiracy are both inchoate crimes because individuals are preparing for future crimes by committing the original crime. In fact, individuals can be charged with those crimes in the absence of the act being committed. For instance, a person may be charged with conspiracy to commit murder, even though no murder took place. In essence, a crime is inchoate even when no harm has been done because the individuals intended to take part in that crime at a later time.
Burglary is considered inchoate until the individual’s commits another crime. For instance, an individual may wait outside a house until all of the occupants have left. While waiting, that individual is preparing to burglarize the home by locating any weaknesses in security. Even if that person never actually committed an act that is considered a crime, he or she can be charged with an inchoate crime, even though the offense has not been completed successfully.
In fact, a person can be charged with a crime that is inchoate even if they are simply in possession of burglary tools. However, it would have to be clear that the tools were in an individual’s possession because they had the intent to use them in a crime. In fact, any crime that is inchoate must include mens rea, or intent, in order for there to be an offense. For example, a person that conspires to commit murder must indeed intend for a person to die in order for an inchoate crime to occur. In fact, many individuals are found guilty of crimes that are considered inchoate even though no act had taken place.
For a crime to be inchoate, there are unique factors that must be present. First and foremost, there must be intent to commit a crime, such as hiring an individual to commit murder with the intent that a person will die. In addition, there must be proof of that intent, such as payments made to a hired killer. However, many individuals are charged with inchoate crimes without ever having completed the intended act.