An inchoate offense is a crime of preparing for or seeking to commit another crime. Common examples include Attempt, Solicitation, Conspiracy, Criminal responsibility, Facilitation, and Being an accessory after the fact.
A defendant does not have to be convicted of the actual offense to be placed on the Registry – if the defendant is accused of the inchoate offenses above, he or she will still be placed on the Registry.
Imagine that a couple engaged in a criminal scheme to commit a Sexual Battery. Perhaps a female defendant lured a female victim to a house where the male defendant actually committed a Sexual Battery. The female defendant could be charged with “Facilitation to commit Sexual Battery” while the male defendant could be charged with Sexual Battery. Both of these defendants would be placed on the Registry if convicted, even though only one committed the Sexual Battery.
Do not allow an attorney who is not knowledgeable about these offenses to think that pleading the offense down to an “Attempted” offense will avoid the Registry requirements. While this was true at one time, it is no longer accurate.
Tenn. Code Ann. 39-11-402. Criminal responsibility for conduct of another.
A person is criminally responsible for an offense committed by the conduct of another, if:
(1) Acting with the culpability required for the offense, the person causes or aids an innocent or irresponsible person to engage in conduct prohibited by the definition of the offense;
(2) Acting with intent to promote or assist the commission of the offense, or to benefit in the proceeds or results of the offense, the person solicits, directs, aids, or attempts to aid another person to commit the offense; or
(3) Having a duty imposed by law or voluntarily undertaken to prevent commission of the offense and acting with intent to benefit in the proceeds or results of the offense, or to promote or assist its commission, the person fails to make a reasonable effort to prevent commission of the offense.
Tenn. Code Ann. 39-11-403. Criminal responsibility for facilitation of felony.
(a) A person is criminally responsible for the facilitation of a felony, if, knowing that another intends to commit a specific felony, but without the intent required for criminal responsibility under § 39-11-402(2), the person knowingly furnishes substantial assistance in the commission of the felony.
(b) The facilitation of the commission of a felony is an offense of the class next below the felony facilitated by the person so charged.
Tenn. Code Ann. 39-11-411. Accessory after the fact.
(a) A person is an accessory after the fact who, after the commission of a felony, with knowledge or reasonable ground to believe that the offender has committed the felony, and with the intent to hinder the arrest, trial, conviction or punishment of the offender:
(1) Harbors or conceals the offender;
(2) Provides or aids in providing the offender with any means of avoiding arrest, trial, conviction or punishment; or
(3) Warns the offender of impending apprehension or discovery.
(b) This section shall have no application to an attorney providing legal services as required or authorized by law.
(c) Accessory after the fact is a Class E felony.
Tenn. Code Ann. 39-12-101. Criminal attempt.
(a) A person commits criminal attempt who, acting with the kind of culpability otherwise required for the offense:
(1) Intentionally engages in action or causes a result that would constitute an offense, if the circumstances surrounding the conduct were as the person believes them to be;
(2) Acts with intent to cause a result that is an element of the offense, and believes the conduct will cause the result without further conduct on the person’s part; or
(3) Acts with intent to complete a course of action or cause a result that would constitute the offense, under the circumstances surrounding the conduct as the person believes them to be, and the conduct constitutes a substantial step toward the commission of the offense.
(b) Conduct does not constitute a substantial step under subdivision (a)(3), unless the person’s entire course of action is corroborative of the intent to commit the offense.
(c) It is no defense to prosecution for criminal attempt that the offense attempted was actually committed.
Tenn. Code Ann. 39-12-102. Solicitation — Defenses disallowed.
(a) Whoever, by means of oral, written or electronic communication, directly or through another, intentionally commands, requests or hires another to commit a criminal offense, or attempts to command, request or hire another to commit a criminal offense, with the intent that the criminal offense be committed, is guilty of the offense of solicitation.
(b) It is no defense that the solicitation was unsuccessful and the offense solicited was not committed. It is no defense that the person solicited could not be guilty of the offense solicited, due to insanity, minority, or other lack of criminal responsibility or incapacity. It is no defense that the person solicited was unaware of the criminal nature of the conduct solicited. It is no defense that the person solicited is unable to commit the offense solicited because of the lack of capacity, status, or characteristic needed to commit the offense solicited, so long as the person soliciting or the person solicited believes that either or both have such capacity, status, or characteristic.
Tenn. Code Ann. 39-12-103. Criminal conspiracy.
(a) The offense of conspiracy is committed if two (2) or more people, each having the culpable mental state required for the offense that is the object of the conspiracy, and each acting for the purpose of promoting or facilitating commission of an offense, agree that one (1) or more of them will engage in conduct that constitutes the offense.
(b) If a person guilty of conspiracy, as defined in subsection (a), knows that another with whom the person conspires to commit an offense has conspired with one (1) or more other people to commit the same offense, the person is guilty of conspiring with the other person or persons, whether or not their identity is known, to commit the offense.
(c) If a person conspires to commit a number of offenses, the person is guilty of only one (1) conspiracy, so long as the multiple offenses are the object of the same agreement or continuous conspiratorial relationship.
(d) No person may be convicted of conspiracy to commit an offense, unless an overt act in pursuance of the conspiracy is alleged and proved to have been done by the person or by another with whom the person conspired.
(e) (1) Conspiracy is a continuing course of conduct that terminates when the objectives of the conspiracy are completed or the agreement that they be completed is abandoned by the person and by those with whom the person conspired. The objectives of the conspiracy include, but are not limited to, escape from the crime, distribution of the proceeds of the crime, and measures, other than silence, for concealing the crime or obstructing justice in relation to it.
(2) Abandonment of a conspiracy is presumed if neither the person nor anyone with whom the person conspired does any overt act in pursuance of the conspiracy during the applicable period of limitation.
(3) If an individual abandons the agreement, the conspiracy is terminated as to that person only if and when the person, advises those with whom the person conspired of the abandonment, or the person informs law enforcement authorities of the existence of the conspiracy and of the person’s participation in the conspiracy.
(f) It is no defense that the offense that was the object of the conspiracy was not committed.
(g) Nothing in this section is intended to modify the evidentiary rules allowing statements of co-conspirators in furtherance of a conspiracy.