The Crime of Common Law Attempt in Maryland

The Court further elaborated on the nature of the crime of common law attempt in Maryland, quoting from Lane v. State, 348 Md. 272, 279, 703 A.2d 180 (1997), in which Judge Wilner stated: "By Maryland common law, the attempt to commit a crime is, itself, a separate crime -- a misdemeanor. As we pointed out in Cox v. State, 311 Md. 326, 330-31, 534 A.2d 1333, 1335 (1988), attempt 'is an adjunct crime, it cannot exist by itself, but only in connection with another crime,' and it thus 'expands and contracts and is redefined commensurately with the substantive offense.' See also Hardy v. State, 301 Md. 124, 482 A.2d 474 (1984). Subject to some exceptions, common law attempt has been held applicable to common law crimes and to a number of statutory offenses. Bruce v. State, 317 Md. 642, 645, 566 A.2d 103, 104 (1989). There are, however, at least two categories of substantive crimes, to which criminal attempt has been held inapplicable. The first consists of crimes that do not require at least a general criminal intent. Cox v. State, supra, 311 Md. at 331, 534 A.2d at 1335: 'There is an exception, however, to the general rule that attempt applies to all offenses. Crimes that do not involve intent to do a criminal act generally fall outside the scope of the crime of attempt. If there is no intent to do a wrongful act, then usually there is no crime of attempt.' The second category consists of substantive crimes that are, themselves, in the nature of attempts. Simple assault is often cited as an example. Although we need not decide the matter here, there may be other crimes as well that may not be suitable for serving as the basis of a criminal attempt." [Moore v. State, 388 Md. 623, 882 A.2d 256 (2005) (quoting Lane, supra, 348 Md. at 283-84).]