Attempt and Conspiracy in North Carolina

Attempt and Conspiracy

In criminal law, attempt, conspiracy, and aiding and abetting, andattempt and conspiracy chargesolicitation are four concepts that one should be familiar with. We have broken these subjects up into two categories and have discussed them in two separate blogs. This blog focuses on Attempt and Conspiracy, which are somewhat similar (albeit different concepts). To learn about Aiding and Abetting and Solicitation, check out this blog.

Attempt

Attempt is just what it sounds like – it is attempting to facilitate a crime, but not completing that underlying crime. Attempt is governed by NC General Statute 14 – 2.5.

A person may be charged with attempt if they have the specific intent to commit the underlying crime and take a substantial step in committing the underlying crime. One should note that a person cannot be charged with both the underlying crime and attempt to commit that specific underlying crime. It is one or the other.

Punishment for Attempt

Attempt is punished almost as seriously as the underlying crime is punished. Unless a particular statute for a particular crime provides for a specific punishment for the attempted commission of that crime, attempt is punished as one class lower than the class in which the underlying crime is punished.

For example, attempt of a Class 2 misdemeanor is punished as a Class 3 Misdemeanor. Attempt of a Class C felony is punished as a Class D felony. Attempt to commit a Class A or B1 felony is punished as a Class B2 felony. Attempt to commit a Class B2 Felony is punished as a Class C felony. Attempt of a Class I felony is punished as a Class 1 Misdemeanor.

Attempt of a Class 3 misdemeanor, which is lowest level crime in NC, is also punished as a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Conspiracy

Conspiracy is governed by North Carolina General Statute 14-2.4. Conspiracy is when two or more people agree to commit a crime and then take some step toward committing the crime. The person charged must have also had the specific intent to carry out the crime. They do not actually have to complete the crime or even attempt the crime to be charged with conspiracy. They must, however, take some step in moving forward with the crime. In other words, you cannot be charged with conspiracy for simply talking about robbing a bank. You can, however, be charged with conspiracy for planning to rob a bank with another person and then buying a gun and writing a demand letter.

Note that it is possible to be punished both for conspiracy to commit an underlying crime and for actually committing the underlying crime. You can also be charged with conspiracy and attempt. You cannot be charged with attempt to commit an underlying crime and the underlying crime itself.

Punishment for Conspiracy

Conspiracy to commit an underlying crime is punished almost as harshly as the underlying crime is punished. Except when provided for by statute, it is punished one class lower than the underlying crime is punished. Specific rules for conspiracy penalties are as follows: Conspiracy to commit a Class A or Class B1 felony is a Class B2 felony. A conspiracy to commit a Class B2 felony is a Class C felony. A conspiracy to commit a Class I felony is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Unless otherwise provided by statute, conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor is also punished as one class lower than the underlying misdemeanor, except that conspiracy to commit a Class 3 misdemeanor is also punished as a Class 3 misdemeanor.

If you have been charged with attempt or conspiracy, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer to discuss your options.