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This is a small sample of the definition for Attempt in Dean's Law Dictionary.

 

The authorities agree that it is impossible to formulate a general rule or definition of what constitutes an attempt which may be applied as a test in all cases, and that each case must be determined on its own facts with the assistance of general guiding principles. (8 R. C. L., p. 277; Stokes v. State, 92 Miss. 415 [46 So. 627, 21 L. R. A. (N. S.) 898]; see People v. Stites, 75 Cal. 570, 575 [17 Pac. 693]; People v. Lanzit, 70 Cal. App. 498, 504, 505 [233 Pac. 816].) Where the crime remains unfinished and the defendant is charged with attempt, two important elements are essential: A specific intent to commit the crime and a direct ineffectual act done towards its commission. ( People v. Murray, 14 Cal. 159; Ex parte Floyd, 7 Cal. App. 588, 590 [95 Pac. 175]; People v. Petros, 25 Cal. App. 236, 244 [143 Pac. 246]; 18 R. C. L., p. 277.)

Mere intention to commit a specified crime does not amount to an attempt. ( People v. Stites, supra.) Preparation alone is not sufficient. 'Something more is required than mere menaces, preparation or planning.' (30 Cor. Jur. 13.) 'The preparation consists in devising or arranging the means or measures necessary for the commission of the offense; the attempt is the direct movement towards the commission after the preparations are made. . . . Therefore, the act must reach far enough towards the accomplishment of the desired result to amount to the commencement of the consummation.' (8 R. C. L., pp. 278, 279.) 'There must be some appreciable fragment of the crime committed, and it must be in such progress that it will be consummated unless interrupted by circumstances independent of the will of the attempter.' (Wharton's Criminal Law, 12th ed., vol. 1, p. 280.) It is also stated in the same work at page 292 of volume 1: 'If the preparation is not of itself indictable, or will not of itself, if uninterrupted extraneously, result in crime, the weight of reasoning is that it cannot be made per se indictable as an attempt. For, first, there is no evidence as a general rule, that can prove that a particular preparation was designed for a particular end. Thus a gun may be bought as well for hunting as for homicide. Nor can we lay down any intelligible line between preparations which betray more clearly and those which betray less clearly a felonious purpose. Secondly, between preparation and execution there is a gap which criminal jurisprudence cannot fill up so as to make one continuous offense. There may be a change of purpose, or the preparation may be a vague precautionary measure, to which the law cannot append a positive criminal intent, ready to ripen into guilty act.' ....