Today, we talk about conspiracy charge and what are the penalties of a conspiracy charge . When two or more people agree to do something illegal or use illegal means to achieve something lawful, it is a criminal conspiracy.
However, authorities do not consider this agreement to be a criminal conspiracy unless there is some action to back it up. Moreover, this agreement should involve one or more parties.
Thus, a conspiracy charge is when law enforcement charges someone with the unlawful act of a criminal conspiracy.
When a person commits a crime, they face charges accordingly. Less severe crimes which we call misdemeanors, can result in at least six months in jail. On the other hand, more serious crime which we commonly call felonies, can lead to prison sentences.
What Is Conspiracy Charge?
A conspiracy occurs when two or more individuals collaborate a plan. Now, this plan should be to execute an unlawful act.
There is an agreement to commit the unlawful act. Two or more people must agree to commit this act. If not an illegal act, it can be a legal act through illegal means. Moreover, this agreement can be explicit or implicit.
However, there has to be mutual understanding among the people conspiring.
For instance, if two individuals agree to rob a store. Additionally, they plan the details of the robbery. Hence they may face conspiracy charges for this act.
Moreover, each person in the conspiracy must have the intent to commit the unlawful act. They should all have the illegal objective to carry out the conspiracy. They must also share this intent with all other conspirators.
What Is A Felony Conspiracy Charge?
Conspiracy charges can vary in severity. They may range from misdemeanors to felonies.
Hence, conspiring to commit a minor offense like petty theft could result in misdemeanor charges. On the other hand, planning a larger-scale crime such as drug trafficking will be a felony conspiracy charge. So, if you are wondering how long does a felony stay on your record; It will apply to these kind of conspiracy charges, too.
What Will The Conspiracy Charge Contain?
Those accused of conspiracy could face charges for both the conspiracy and the intended criminal act. Let us say that a group plans to vandalize public property. However, authorities catch them before executing the plan. In such a case, they may face charges of conspiracy along with attempted vandalism.
How Is A Conspiracy Charge Different From An Attempted Charge?
In an attempt charge, an individual acts alone. However, they fail to complete the crime. On the other hand, conspiracy involves the participation of multiple individuals.
For instance, if a group plans to commit fraud by creating fake identification documents. However, they do not follow through. In such a case, they could be charged with conspiracy.
What Does A Conspiracy Charge Mean?
To charge someone with murder or burglary, the actual crime must occur. However, conspiracy charges differ. A person can face conspiracy charges even if the planned crime is not executed. Proving conspiracy requires three crucial elements.
The person agreed with their co-conspirator to commit the crime. For example, recorded text messages or witnessed discussions between the conspirators.
The offenders demonstrated a clear intent to carry out the crime. For example, discussions occurring after the initial agreement among the conspirators.
At least one conspirator took steps toward fulfilling the plan. For example, acquiring tools relevant to the illegal plan by one of the co-conspirators.
How To Prove Conspiracy Charges?
There may be a conspiracy charge, but proving it may be difficult.
For example, it may look like the following.
Contacting a drug dealer without attending the meeting.
Planning a store robbery, purchasing masks, but abandoning the plan.
Devising a detailed scheme for a robbery that never materialized.
Hiring a hitman, paying them, but cancelling the request before the crime was committed.
What Are The Penalties For Federal Conspiracy?
Federal conspiracy penalties vary based on the intended crime of the conspiracy. Conspiring to commit a crime against the United States could result in a maximum prison sentence of five years as per Section 371.
The court may also impose fines along with imprisonment.
When the object of the conspiracy is a misdemeanor, the maximum sentence aligns with that of the misdemeanor itself.
Moreover, the severity of consequences stemming from conspiracy charges hinges on the specific charge filed by the government.
Some conspiracy statutes outline distinct penalties, while others dictate that the penalty mirrors that of the completed crime. For instance, conspiracy to engage in drug trafficking carries the same sentence as the actual offense of drug trafficking.
How To Beat A Federal Conspiracy Charge?
We understand you’re facing a federal conspiracy charge and hope to offer useful insights.
As per our sources, effective defense strategies for conspiracy charges often involve the following defenses. You can prove these:
Non-involvement in any agreement to commit a crime, therefore negating the existence of a conspiracy.
- Lack of intent to commit a crime.
- Unawareness that the plan involved criminal activity.
- Withdrawal of support from the conspiracy.
Another defense revolves around proving the defendant’s lack of knowing. The attorney can help prove that they were unwilling to participate in the acts.
Thus, a conspiracy charge is a complex and distinct charge. It differs from criminal charges. They can arrive from a planned crime that never takes place. Thus it makes them a challenge to defend against.
Establishing a defense will require you to show lack of agreement, intent, or knowledge of criminal activity. Therefore, guidance from an experienced attorney is extremely important due to the intricate nature of conspiracy charges.