Inchoate Crimes: An Incomplete Pathway to Criminal Defense

Inchoate crimes are criminal charges that often get overlooked in the criminal justice system but can lead to serious consequences. An inchoate offense is a type of crime that is committed by taking a punishable step towards the commission of another crime. To learn more about this topic, we spoke to several of the top criminal defense lawyers across the state of Michigan.

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and created what is considered by many the top criminal defense firm across the state of Michigan. Grabel spoke on the topic when he said, “The three basic inchoate offenses are attempt, solicitation, and conspiracy. The crime allegedly intended is referred to as the target or principal offense can carry more severe consequences, but the case can be brought through the inchoate aspect.”

Megan Smith is an Associate for Grabel and Associates and Tanis Schultz. Smith is known as a top criminal defense lawyer in Kent County and added her insight to this topic. Smith stated, “We learn when studying for the Michigan Bar Exam that the term attempt means incomplete but that is deceptive. The concept of attempt lends to the argument of the substantial step. In essence, we must argue whether the step towards the failed crime presents enough to charge the inchoate crime.”

Nancy Eaton-Gordon is a top defense lawyer in Lenawee County, Michigan. Eaton-Gordon added “With solicitation we also find a level of deception. People generally think of this in the realm of prostitution, but we find that solicitation to drug offenses and sting operations for sexual crimes with minors has been on the rise with the charge of solicitation. The black letter law indicates if one asks, entices, or encourages another to commit a crime they are guilty, but the merger doctrine plays a role in this charge.”

Ravi Gurumurthy is a top criminal defense lawyer in Northern Michigan and a Senior Associate for Grabel and Associates. Gurumurthy added to the words of Eaton-Gordon by saying “The merger doctrine is often overlooked by prosecuting attorneys. You cannot charge a criminal defendant with the inchoate and the target offense. When there is a complaint such as that we must study if the crime is factual or a result of negligence.”

Jordan Vahdat is a partner at Vahdat Weisman and is a successful civil litigator but also has been a prominent criminal defense lawyer. Vahdat said “We often see the concept of conspiracy as a stand-alone crime. For those with immigration issues we see prosecutions that combine both the conspiracy and the principal crime. This is dangerous to immigration purposes because what may lead to a probation sentence under normal circumstances can create removal proceedings if not handled properly.”

William Amadeo is a partner at McManus and Amadeo and a Senior Associate for Grabel and Associates. Amadeo is known as one of the top criminal defense lawyers across the state of Michigan. Amadeo indicated, “When inchoate crimes were legislated there were theories of RICO Prosecutions, and the “Pinkerton Rule” was at the forefront. With all these crimes we must look at them from a historical aspect. We even must examine a county-by-county aspect of the charges. If we look at solicitation to prosecution, we have a great divide. In Washtenaw County the theory of prostitution is not going to be charged. In Wayne County a defendant can receive a mandatory 45 days in jail for the crime if not handled properly by the defense counsel. Uniformity of law is truly a foreign concept but with inchoate crimes, this concept is magnified.

While inchoate crimes may not have the same headlines of traditional felonies, they are many hidden consequences that are attached to them. Defending them with the same vigor as a target offense is necessary for diligence to be preserved.

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