What is conspiracy in criminal law? Conspiracy legal elements are in place so that dangerous criminals can be prosecuted even before they cause serious damage and direct harm to others. Today, we’ll tackle the topic of conspiracy to commit a crime, along with details regarding jail time and beating these types of charges.
What Is Conspiracy to Commit a Crime?
What is conspiracy? More specifically, what is criminal conspiracy? A conspiracy is a secret plot put into place to initiate harm. Criminal conspiracy exists when two or more individuals team up to carry out an unlawful act. In some cases, they do not simply join forces and craft a plan; these people see the criminal act through to completion.
In other cases, the criminal act need not be committed itself. Conspiracy charges may land on those who only knew of the plot and intended to break the law. According to conspiracy law, it is possible to face the charges of conspiracy to commit a crime and the crime itself based on the very same set of circumstances.
How Do You Get Charged with Conspiracy?
When it comes to conspiracy to commit a felony, there are some positives and negatives. The key is that the charge allows for prosecution before defendants have carried out the crime itself. However, for a successful federal prosecution to occur, three main elements must be in place and provable:
- A defendant must have agreed with one or more individuals to commit this crime.
- Each of the defendants must have had clear intentions; they must have participated in the agreement to work together and to carry out the crime.
- At least one of the conspirators must have performed what is deemed an “overt act” to advance the conspiracy.
With the prosecution of these elements, law enforcement officials can stop a crime before it fully unfolds. It’s not surprising that a judge and jury would understand this: a group of people teaming up could commit more and greater offenses than unlawful individuals on their own. Obviously, these considerations are the basis for conspiracy charges sentences.
To get representation from a trusted federal criminal defense attorney, reach out to Seth Kretzer. He specializes in questioning key assumptions and seeks to reveal evidentiary problems with his clients’ conspiracy charges.
How to Prove Conspiracy
How might a prosecutor prove conspiracy? Understanding how a prosecutor might prove conspiracy will help you learn more about building a defense.
Prosecutors will note that the criminal conspiracy is especially dangerous because it clouds an individual’s rational decision-making.
Prosecutors will further express that conspiracies involve several participants, which makes the success of the unlawful act’s completion much more likely.
Prosecutors will say that conspiracies are organized in secret; they’ll make the correlation that this fact makes the conspiracy more dangerous.
For certain types of conspiracies, the law does not currently demand an “overt act” to be proven.
Examples of Conspiracy Crimes
You’ll see conspiracy examples in cases centering on drug dealing, fraud, violent crimes, and even white-collar felonies. As we’ve mentioned, by law, you could be charged with conspiracy to commit a crime even if you haven’t come close to completing the conspiracy’s intended actions.
Realize that it does not require a huge, formal meeting to count as “agreement” in conspiracy cases in federal court. It is plenty enough if two or more individuals agree to commit a federal crime and take a step to initiate this agreement.
Contact Houston white collar crimes lawyer, Seth Kretzer, today for more help with your case.
Conspiracy to Commit Robbery
In many states, criminal conspiracy charges hold each conspirator legally responsible for any crimes carried out by other conspirators, given that these crimes fall within bounds of the conspiracy.
You can see how a conspirator might very easily be held responsible for a crime that they did not commit. Let’s look at the example of two conspirators who agree to commit an armed robbery at a bank. During this planned robbery, one individual waits in the getaway car; the other individual heads inside and holds up the bank teller.
In this case, the driver could face the sentencing for the conspiracy charge in federal court, along with being convicted for robbery. Although the driver did not enter the bank, they are considered a conspirator even if the robbery has not yet taken place.
Federal Conspiracy Drug Charges
Let’s look at another consequence of a conspiracy charge. Even the most minor of participants can get swept up in a case where another conspirator is far more responsible for the criminal conduct. This happens a great deal in drug conspiracy cases.
For instance, an individual who has played a small role in a drug conspiracy that included a substantial quantity of drugs could be subject to a mandatory minimum for all of those drugs within the conspiracy.
How Many Years for Conspiracy Charges?
Can you go to jail for conspiracy, and how long can you go to jail for conspiracy? That mandatory minimum could lock you in for five years. But here’s what else you must consider: conspiracy charges can extend some pretty tough penalties, and they depend on the underlying crime or crimes. You can do time for both the conspiracy and the crime(s) itself, given that it was carried out.
How to Get Off a Conspiracy Charge
If you or a loved one faces these charges and is wondering, “What is conspiracy to commit a felony?” we hope you’ve found some helpful information and even some peace of mind here. Chances of beating a conspiracy charge are certainly better with tried and true representation on your side.
Terms like “agreement,” “intent,” and “overt act,” can sound scary, but they offer the hope of a solid defense if you put your case in the hands of an experienced federal criminal appeals lawyer. Schedule a consultation with Seth Kretzer today for more help today!