Penalties for Attempting to Commit a Crime in Singapore
There could be misconceptions that one would not be charged when an attempt to commit a crime has been unsuccessful in Singapore. However, the law states otherwise.
In this article, we will explore the possible penalties one may face when charged with attempting to commit an offence in Singapore. It will discuss:
What Constitutes an Attempt to Commit a Crime?
When someone tries but fails to commit an offence, he can be punished for the attempt if he had:
- Had the intention of committing that offence, and
- Taken a substantial step towards committing the offence.
Whether a “substantial step” had been taken depends on the facts of each case. For example, someone breaks open a safe box to steal some jewels. However, he realises that the safe is empty, and therefore his theft attempt has failed. Nevertheless, he had already broken open the safe box – where this constitutes a “substantial step” towards the commission of theft. Therefore, he could be found guilty of attempted theft.
The Penalties for Attempting to Commit a Crime in Singapore
Generally, when someone attempts to commit a crime, he can be given the same punishment as though he has succeeded in his attempt.
However, if the original offence calls for the death penalty or life imprisonment as punishment, then the offender will be punished with a jail term of up to 20 years, and be liable to a fine or caning, unless a different penalty is specifically provided for the attempt.
On the other hand, section 512(3) of the Penal Code states where the punishment prescribed for an offence is fixed by law, a specified minimum sentence or a mandatory minimum sentence of jail, fine or caning, then the court sentencing the person:
- Is not bound to impose such fixed, specified or mandatory minimum sentence; and
- Could possibly sentence an offender to a combination of sentences as the courts thinks fit without exceeding the maximum punishment prescribed for that particular offence.
A sentence that is fixed by law refers to one that is fixed in duration and in type. On the other hand, a specified minimum sentence is a sentence that the court is not obliged to impose, but if it does, then there is a minimum duration or sentence type that it must impose on the offender. Finally, a mandatory minimum sentence is a sentence that the court is obliged to impose, and that there is a compulsory minimum sentence it must impose when doing so.
In addition, some offences may also prescribe specific penalties for attempting to commit them. Therefore, this section will explore the penalties for attempting to commit these offences:
One would be liable for attempted murder under section 307 of the Penal Code if the attempt had been made with the intention of causing death, even if it had not resulted in death of the victim.
The penalties for persons convicted of attempted murder depends on whether hurt has resulted from their actions.
- No hurt: Offender will be jailed for up to 15 years and be liable to a fine.
- Hurt had been caused: Offender will be:
- Jailed for life and will also be liable to caning; or
- Jailed for up to 20 years and be liable to a fine, caning or both.
How Will Offenders be Sentenced for Attempting to Commit a Crime?
In general, the court will weigh the aggravating factors, which increase the severity of the crime, with the mitigating factors, which decrease the severity of the crime, to determine an appropriate sentence.
Aggravating factors could include:
- The severity of the offence
- The offence having been planned instead of committed on the spur of the moment
- The victim being particularly vulnerable, such as being a child
- The offender having committed similar crimes in the past
Mitigating factors would include:
- The young age of the offender;
- A first-time offender
- Where there is evidence of genuine remorse or guilt on the offender’s part
- Plea of guilt
- Whether the offender had voluntarily offered to make compensation for their acts, such as returning stolen monies or paying for the victim’s medical bills
Certain offences may also have their own specific aggravating factors, as stated below.
In order to decide how an offender should be sentenced for attempted murder, the court will take into consideration factors such as the extent of injuries suffered by the victim and any public distress caused by the offender’s actions. The greater the number of injuries and their severity, the heavier the sentence tends to be.
Aggravating factors specific to robbery include circumstances where:
- It had been committed by a gang;
- The offender had been armed with weapons; and/or
- It had been committed between 7pm and 7am.
As seen from the discussion, persons who are caught attempting to commit offences in Singapore shouldn’t expect to get off lightly just because their attempt failed. They can be sentenced as if their attempt had succeeded.
If you have been charged with attempting to commit a crime, you should consider engaging a criminal defence lawyer to advise you on your matter.
The lawyer would be able to advise you on how you should proceed with your case as well as whether it is in your interests to claim trial or plead guilty.
- What to Do If Your Loved One is Under Police Investigation
- How to Write a Letter of Representation to AGC in Singapore
- What is Entrapment and is It Legal in Singapore?
- What Happens When You Voluntarily Surrender to the Police
- Juvenile Crime: What If Your Child is Arrested in Singapore?
- Police Investigation Process for Crimes in Singapore (4 Steps)
- Arrest Warrant Issued Against You in Singapore: What to Do
- Police Arrest Procedure in Singapore
- Arrestable and Non-Arrestable Offences in Singapore
- What Should You Do If You Witness a Crime in Singapore?
- Can the Public Make a Citizen's Arrest in Singapore?
- What to Do If You’re Being Investigated for a Criminal Offence in Singapore
- "Right to Remain Silent" to Singapore Police: Does It Exist?
- Police Custody in Singapore: What You Should Know
- Search Warrant: The Issuance and Execution of It in Singapore
- Penalties for Lying to the Authorities in Singapore
- Can You Say No to a Lie Detector Test in Singapore? And Other FAQs
- Surrender of Passport to the Police and How to Get It Back
- Extradition: What If I Flee After Committing Crime in Singapore
- When is a Witness Testimony Unreliable in Singapore?
- Falsely Accused of a Crime in Singapore: Your Next Steps
- What is Acquittal & How Can One Be Acquitted in Singapore?
- Using the Defence of Diminished Responsibility in Singapore
- The "Unusually Convincing" Test in "He Said, She Said" Cases
- How to Adjourn or Postpone a Criminal Court Hearing
- TIC: Guide to Charges Taken Into Consideration in Singapore
- Can I Use the Defence of Intoxication in Singapore?
- When Can I Raise the Defence of Provocation in Singapore?
- Can I Represent Myself in a Criminal Court Case in Singapore and How?
- Claiming Trial as an Accused
- Pleading Guilty in Singapore: Consequences & Withdrawal of Plea
- The Defence of Unsound Mind in Singapore: What is It?
- Gag Orders in Singapore: Whose Identity Can be Protected?
- Mitigation Plea: How to Plead for Leniency in Court in Singapore
- Recidivism: What Happens If You Reoffend in Singapore?
- Guide to Filing a Criminal Appeal in Singapore
- Criminal Motion: What is It and How to File One in Singapore
- Guide to Filing a Criminal Revision in Singapore
- Presidential Clemency in Singapore
- Repatriation or Deportation from Singapore: How Does It Work?
- Criminal Records in Singapore
- Visiting a Loved One in Prison or On Death Row in Singapore
- Getting Parole (Early Prison Release) in Singapore
- Fined for an Offence: What to Do If I Can't Afford to Pay Them?
- How Long Is Life Imprisonment in Singapore? And Other FAQs
- Corrective Training and Its Consequences in Singapore
- Consequences of Receiving a Stern Warning in Singapore
- Probation: Eligibility and Whether It Leaves a Criminal Record
- How Can Adult Offenders Get Probation in Singapore?
- Reformative Training in Singapore: When Will It be Ordered?
- Are You Eligible for a Mandatory Treatment Order (MTO)?
- Caning in Singapore: Judicial, School & Parental Corporal Punishment
- 7 Detention Orders in Singapore: When Will They be Ordered?
- Day Reporting Order: Eligibility and Offender's Obligations
- Ragging and Bullying: Their Penalties and What Victims Can Do
- Laws Protecting Informers/Whistleblowers in Singapore
- Counterfeit Medicine/Health Products: Redress for Victims in Singapore
- Breach of Protection Orders: What Can Victims Do?
- Using Your Right to Self-Defence When Attacked in Singapore
- Compensation for Crime Victims in Singapore: How to Obtain
- Rape Laws in Singapore and How Offenders Can Be Punished
- Sexual Misconduct in Singapore: Offences and What Victims Can Do
- Falsely Accused of Rape in Singapore: What to Do
- Incest and Family Sexual Abuse: Penalties and Victim Protection
- How are Sexual Offenders with Special Needs Penalised?
- Cybersexual Crimes in Singapore and Their Penalties
- Legal Age for Sex in Singapore and Common Sexual Offences
- Consent in Sexual Offences in Singapore and What Victims Can Do
- Accused of Molest: Outrage of Modesty in Singapore
- What Can Victims of Sexual Harassment in Singapore Do?
- What is the Law on Sexting in Singapore?
- Revenge Porn: What If Your Nudes are Leaked in Singapore?
- Crime of Voyeurism in Singapore (Penalties and Defences)
- Date Rape: What to Do If Your Drink Has Been Unlawfully Spiked?
- STDs: Can I Go to the Police If a Partner Infected Me in Singapore?
- Alcohol Breathalyser Test in Singapore: Can You Refuse it?
- Singapore's Legal Smoking Age & Common Smoking Offences
- Is Vaping Illegal in Singapore?
- Legal Drinking Age and Drinking-Related Laws in Singapore
- Is Watching, Downloading or Filming Porn Illegal in Singapore?
- Child Pornography in Singapore: Offences and Penalties
- Laws on Procuring Sex Workers & Sexual Services in Singapore
- Singapore's Drug Laws: Possession, Consumption and Trafficking
- Gambling Legally (In Public or Online) in Singapore
- The Offence of Human Trafficking in Singapore and Its Penalties
- Penalties for Committing Theft in Singapore
- Committing Robbery in Singapore: What are the Penalties?
- Penalties for Dishonest Misappropriation of Property in Singapore
- Vandalism Laws: Penalties for Damaging Property in Singapore
- Criminal Trespass in Singapore: What Happens If You’re Caught?
- Penalties for Littering and Killer Litter Offences in Singapore
- What is a POFMA Correction Direction and How to Appeal
- Penalties for Cheating/Scamming and What Victims Can Do
- Penalties for Impersonating Someone and Victim Redress
- Singapore Fake News Laws: Guide to POFMA (Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act)
- Laws and Penalties for Doxxing in Singapore (With Examples)
- Tax Evasion in Singapore: Penalties and Examples
- Criminal Breach of Trust (CBT) in Singapore: What is It?
- All You Need to Know About Corruption in Singapore
- Anti-Money Laundering Laws and You
- 5 Things You Need to Know about Insider Trading
- Dishonest Assistance and Knowing Receipt: The Case of David Rasif
- Charged with a Traffic Offence in Singapore: What to Do
- DUI: Here are the Penalties for Drink-Driving in Singapore
- What Happens If You’re Caught Speeding in Singapore?
- Road Rage: What is It and How are Offenders Sentenced in Singapore
- Penalties for Dangerous Driving for Singapore Drivers
- Fatal Traffic Accidents: Are Drivers Always Punished?
- Guide to E-Scooter and PMD Laws for Singapore Riders
- Is it Legal for Drivers to Carpool in Singapore?
- Radicalisation and Terror Attack-Related Penalties in Singapore
- Public Assemblies and Processions in Singapore
- Misbehaving in Public: 5 Things You Need to Know
- Racial Enmity: Sections 298 and 298A Penal Code Explained
- Religious Cults in Singapore: Are they Illegal? Penalties & More
- Penalties for Financing Terrorist Operations in Singapore
- Penalties for Abetting Minors or Committing Crimes Against Them
- Here are the Penalties for Committing Forgery in Singapore
- Arson and Fire-Related Offences and Their Penalties in Singapore
- Offences Against the Dead and What Family Members Can Do
- Laws on Prohibited, Replica and Self-Defence Weapons
- Penalties for Attempting to Commit a Crime in Singapore
- Penalties for Assaulting a Person in Singapore
- Expats Charged With Offences in Singapore: What to Expect
- What are the Penalties for Hiring Phantom Workers in Singapore?
- What Are Ponzi Schemes? Are They Illegal in Singapore?
- Penalties for Illegal Immigration and Overstaying in Singapore
- Criminal Intimidation: Penalties for Making Threats in Singapore