1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Attempt

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ATTEMPT (Lat. adtemptare, attentare, to try), in law, an act done with intent to commit a crime, and forming one of a series of acts which would constitute its actual commission if it were not interrupted. An attempt must proceed beyond mere preparation, but at the same time it must fall short of the ultimate purpose in any part of it. The actual point, however, at which an act ceases to be an attempt, and becomes criminal, depends upon the circumstances of each particular case. A person may be guilty of an attempt to commit a crime, even if its commission in the manner proposed was impossible. Every attempt to commit a treason, felony or indictable misdemeanour is in itself an indictable misdemeanour, punishable by fine or imprisonment, unless the attempt to commit is specifically punishable by statute as a felony, or in a defined manner as a misdemeanour; and a person who has been indicted for a felony or misdemeanour may, if the evidence so warrants, be found guilty only of the attempt, provided that it too is a misdemeanour.