Inchoate Crime Law & Legal Definition


Inchoate crimes are incomplete crimes which must be connected to a substantive crime to obtain a conviction. Examples of inchoate crimes are criminal conspiracy, criminal solicitation, and attempt to commit a crime, when the crime has not been completed. It refers to the act of preparing for or seeking to commit another crime. A true inchoate offense occurs when the intended crime does not since the doctrine of merger prohibits charging both.

Absent a specific law, an inchoate offense requires that the defendant have the specific intent to commit the underlying crime. An inchoate crime may be found when the substantive crime failed due to arrest, impossibility, or an accident preventing the crime from taking place. For example, a person may be found guilty of the inchoate crime of attempted murder for firing an unloaded gun at someone with an intent to kill. Possession of a listed chemical with intent to manufacture a controlled substance and possession of a prohibited flask or equipment with intent to manufacture a controlled substance are other examples of inchoate crimes.