How can someone prove that they abandoned a planned crime if charged with attempt?

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How can someone prove that they abandoned a planned crime if charged with attempt?

A DEFENDANT IS BEING CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED ROBBERY. HE WAS SITTING IN HIS RUNNING CAR IN A BANK PARKING LOT FOR 60 MINUTES SPEAKING ON HIS CELL. POLICE DISCOVERED A LEGALLY REGISTERED OUT OF STATE GUN (ALONG WITH ALL HIS PERSONAL BAGS, DUCT TAPE LICENSE PLATE, AND A ROBBERY NOTE. HOWEVER, THE DEFENDANT DID NOT EXIT THE CAR, PASS THE NOTE, OR IN ANY WAY OVERTLY ACT OUT THE CRIME. THE BANK ACTED ON A HUNCH ONLY AND CONFUSED HIM WITH A SERIAL BANDIT WHO WAS SUBSEQUENTLY ARRESTED. DEFENDANT HAD FANTASIZED ABOUT ROBBING A BANK BUT THAT IS ALL. IS HE GUILTY OF ATTEMPT OR JUST PLANNING?

Asked on March 3, 2011 under Criminal Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I think that your friend is walking a very fine line here and that you are really grasping at straws.  Have you never heard of the police thwarting a bank robbery or these days even a terrorist attack BEFORE it actually happened?  Do you think that the evidence here makes him any less guilty of "attempt" rather than "planning" as you say? Tell your friend to get a good lawyer and to speak with someone about these delusions of robbing a back.  They have finally gotten him in to the trouble that the actual crime may have as well, less a few additional charges maybe.  He needs help.  Help him get it.  Soon.


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