Legal Impossibility to Commit a Crime
People v. Meyers (1963) 213 Cal. App. 2d 518, 523 [28 Cal. Rptr. 753], stated:
"The courts of this state have not concerned themselves with the niceties of distinction between physical and legal impossibility, but have focused their attention on the question of the specific intent to commit the substantive offense.
The hypothesis of the rule established in this state is that the defendant must have the specific intent to commit the substantive offense, and that under the circumstances, as he reasonably sees them, he does the acts necessary to consummate the substantive offense; but because of circumstances unknown to him, essential elements of the substantive crime are lacking.
It is only when the results intended by the actor, if they happened as envisaged by him, would still not be a crime, then and only then, can he not be guilty of an attempt."
Thus, a defendant may be found guilty of attempted receipt of stolen property although the property is in fact not stolen ( People v. Rojas (1961) 55 Cal. 2d 252, 258 [10 Cal. Rptr. 465, 358 P.2d 921, 85 A.L.R.2d 252]), of attempted possession of a controlled substance although the substance is in fact talcum powder ( People v. Siu (1954) 126 Cal. App. 2d 41, 43-44 [271 P.2d 575]) and of attempted rape if he intended to rape a live person although unbeknownst to him the victim was dead (People v. Thompson (1993) 12 Cal. App. 4th 195, 202-203 [15 Cal. Rptr. 2d 333]).