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Dangerous Proximity Test

The "Dangerous Proximity Test" or the "Proximity Test" is a common law legal analysis used in attempt cases. (Note: A criminal attempt is the taking of a substantial step in the direction of committing a crime, beyond mere preparation). The court weighs a number of factors when applying the Dangerous Proximity Test, including:

  • The gravity of the intended crime
  • Whether the defendant had approached the victim
  • Whether all of the instrumentalities needed to commit the crime had been obtained
  • Whether the defendant had arrived at the crime scene.

Example: Having a loaded gun and waiting in the bushes to shoot the intended victim as he arrives home is sufficient under the Dangerous Proximity Test, but going to the gun store to purchase the gun is insufficient.

The Dangerous Proximity Test is one of the many different tests used by state and federal courts to determine whether the defendant has gone beyond preparing to commit a crime and has started to actually attempt to commit the crime. Other tests used by the courts include, the "substantial step" test and the "probable desistance" test. See also, Attempt.