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Inchoate Crimes on Long Island, NY

Long Island, located in New York, is known for its scenic landscapes, vibrant communities, and diverse population. However, like any other region, it also faces criminal activities, including a distinct category known as inchoate crimes. On Long Island, inchoate crimes are defined and prosecuted based on an individual’s involvement, intent, and the potential harm caused by their actions. These accusations can lead to severe consequences, including damage to one’s reputation, legal complications, and personal distress. It is crucial to understand the legal framework surrounding inchoate crimes and the potential defenses available to those who find themselves wrongly accused, as a comprehensive understanding of the law can help ensure justice and protect the rights of individuals involved. 

Should you find yourself accused of an inchoate offense on Long Island, promptly reach out to a skilled Long Island criminal defense attorney. At Edward Palermo Criminal Defense, our experienced legal team will carefully scrutinize the details of your case and suggest the most appropriate strategy, to reduce the charges or obtain a full dismissal of the case. Get in touch with us today at (631) 265-1052 or (516) 280-2160 to arrange a free consultation.

Definition of Inchoate Crimes

Inchoate crimes, also known as incomplete crimes or preliminary crimes, are actions that are taken in preparation for committing a crime but do not reach the point of being considered a completed crime. These actions can still be punishable by law, as they often indicate a person’s criminal intent and can have a significant impact on public safety. This aspect of criminal law allows for the prosecution of individuals who are attempting to engage in criminal activity but are prevented from doing so due to external circumstances or their own lack of skill or resources.

Legal Significance

Penalizing inchoate crimes serve multiple purposes within the legal system. Firstly, it is a deterrent for people who may be considering committing a crime, as the potential punishment for taking preparatory actions can be just as severe as the punishment for the completed crime. Secondly, it provides law enforcement with the opportunity to intervene before a potentially serious crime is carried out, thus protecting potential victims and preventing further harm.

The legal significance of inchoate crimes varies among different jurisdictions, with some applying harsher penalties than others. In New York, the punishment for an inchoate crime highly depends on the circumstances of the case as well as the type of inchoate crime committed. New York has incorporated charges for inchoate crimes due to the inherent danger that arises from individuals pursuing criminal objectives.

Different Categories of Inchoate Crimes

Inchoate crimes can be divided into three primary categories: attempt, conspiracy, and solicitation. Each of these categories involves a different level of criminal activity and intention, and they are each treated separately within the legal system.


New York Penal Law (NYPL) Article 110 defines an “attempt” as occurring when someone engages in conduct intending to commit a crime but fails to complete the crime. For example, a person may be charged with attempted burglary if they break into a building intending to steal items, but are caught before they commit the theft. The severity of the attempted crime varies depending on the underlying crime, from Class B misdemeanors to Class A felonies.


Conspiracy is an agreement between two or more parties to commit a crime. NYPL Article 105 describes the elements of conspiracy, ranging from the lowest degree (conspiracy in the sixth degree) to the highest (conspiracy in the first degree). The severity of the charge depends on several factors, including the level of the intended crime, the number and age of co-conspirators, and the presence of other aggravating circumstances.


Solicitation, as defined in NYPL Article 100, occurs when someone entices, advises, or commands another person to engage in criminal conduct, regardless of whether the other person acts on the request. Solicitation can range from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class D felony, depending on the underlying offense.

Relation to Completed Crimes

Inchoate crimes can be connected to completed crimes in various ways. For example, an inchoate crime such as an attempt or conspiracy may be prosecuted in addition to the completed crime if the intended criminal act is ultimately carried out by the defendant or a co-conspirator. In other cases, inchoate crimes may serve as the primary charge if the intended crime is interrupted or prevented due to law enforcement intervention, the defendant’s change of heart, or other external factors.

The relationship between inchoate and completed crimes highlights the importance of criminal intent within the legal system. By prosecuting individuals for both incomplete and completed criminal acts, the legal system aims to deter individuals from pursuing criminal activities.

Charging and Prosecution Process

New York law enforcement officers and prosecutors work together to charge and prosecute inchoate crimes. The process typically consists of the following steps:

  1. Investigation: Law enforcement officers or assigned detectives conduct an investigation to gather evidence. For inchoate crimes, this may involve surveillance or undercover operations to collect evidence of planning, intent, and actions.
  2. Filing of Charges: Based on the gathered evidence, the prosecutor decides whether to file charges against the suspect. The charges filed will depend on the type and degree of the inchoate crime, and the strength of the evidence supporting the charge.
  3. Preliminary Hearing or Grand Jury: In felony cases, the prosecutor may either opt for a preliminary hearing before a judge or an indictment by a grand jury. At this stage, the strength of the evidence and the appropriateness of the charges are assessed.
  4. Arraignment: The defendant appears in court to hear the charges against them and enters a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Bail preferences may also be determined at this stage.
  5. Pretrial Conferences, Motions, and Hearings: Attorneys for both the prosecution and defense may engage in pretrial conferences, file motions, and hold hearings to determine admissible evidence, suppress evidence, or discuss plea deals.
  6. Trial: If no plea agreement is reached, the case proceeds to trial. The prosecution must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction.
  7. Sentencing: If the defendant is found guilty, a judge will determine the appropriate sentence based on the crime and other factors, such as the defendant’s criminal history and circumstances surrounding the case.
Charging and Prosecution Process Details
Investigation Gathering evidence through surveillance and undercover operations.
Filing of Charges Prosecutor decides whether to file charges based on gathered evidence.
Preliminary Hearing or Grand Jury Assessment of evidence and appropriateness of charges (felony cases).
Arraignment Defendant appears in court, enters plea, and bail preferences may be determined.
Pretrial Conferences, Motions, and Hearings Attorneys engage in conferences, motions, and hearings for evidence, suppression, and plea deals.
Trial Case proceeds to trial if no plea agreement is reached.
Sentencing Judge determines appropriate sentence based on crime and relevant factors.

Defenses and Mitigating Factors

There are several potential defenses and mitigating factors that a defendant in an inchoate crime case may rely on:

  • Legal Impossibility: A defendant may argue that even if they had intended to commit a crime, the proposed act would not have constituted an offense under state law.
  • Abandonment or Withdrawal: A defendant may argue that they abandoned or withdrew from the inchoate crime before any substantial actions were taken to further the crime, thus demonstrating a lack of intent.
  • Entrapment: A defendant may argue that they were induced to commit the inchoate crime by law enforcement agents who planted the idea in their mind and encouraged them to engage in criminal behavior.
  • Insufficient Evidence: A defendant may argue that the prosecution has not provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate their intent to commit the inchoate crime, or that the evidence is unreliable or inadmissible.
  • Mental Illness or Duress: A defendant may argue that they committed the inchoate offense due to mental illness or being under duress, which impaired their judgment and ability to form the required intent.

These defenses and mitigating factors, if successfully argued, can lead to reduced charges, lighter sentences, or even acquittal. Employing the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney is instrumental in ensuring the best possible outcome depending on the circumstances of the case.

Getting the Help of an Experienced Long Island Criminal Defense Attorney

A Long Island criminal defense attorney can be instrumental in helping individuals fight inchoate criminal charges. These attorneys offer vital legal advice, guiding individuals through the complexities of their cases and explaining the charges they face. They protect their clients’ constitutional rights, ensuring that law enforcement adheres to proper procedures during arrest and investigation. 

A criminal defense attorney can also conduct a thorough independent investigation, gathering evidence and reviewing police reports, witness statements, and other pertinent information. They may engage in negotiations with prosecutors to seek reduced charges or alternative resolutions. Additionally, these attorneys construct a strong defense strategy, challenging evidence, questioning witnesses, and advocating for their clients’ best interests in court. By leveraging their knowledge and expertise, criminal defense attorneys play a crucial role in fighting inchoate criminal charges.

If find yourself confronted with charges of an inchoate offense on Long Island, obtaining the support of an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney is critical. At Edward Palermo Criminal Defense, our top-rated legal team led by criminal defense attorney Edward Palermo is committed to advocating for clients facing these accusations. We can guide you through the intricacies of the legal proceedings and aim for a positive resolution that avoids the severe repercussions of a criminal conviction. Contact us today at (631) 265-1052 or (516) 280-2160 to arrange a free consultation.