Understanding Criminal Conspiracy

January 1, 2023 | By Shane Phelps Law
Understanding Criminal Conspiracy

What is criminal conspiracy? In legal terms, a conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to commit a crime. To be convicted of conspiracy, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant had the intention to agree or go along with the criminal plan. Even if the crime was never actually committed, defendants can still be found guilty of conspiracy if they took any steps towards carrying out the illegal agreement.

Penalties for conspiracy can be just as severe as penalties for actually committing the underlying crime. If you have been charged with criminal conspiracy, it is important to understand the elements of the offense and what defenses may be available to you.

What Is Criminal Conspiracy?

Criminal conspiracy is an intentional act of two or more people coming together to commit a crime. Such conspiracies typically involve illegal agreements between the parties to conduct certain illicit activities and are more often than not formed with criminal intent.

This type of crime is treated as very serious by courts of law as it involves breaking the law in collusion with others, making it difficult for authorities to crack down on it. To prove that a criminal conspiracy exists, prosecutors must establish proof of an agreement between at least two individuals that criminal activity has been planned or discussed. Penalties for this offense vary depending on both state and federal laws and the severity of the crime that was committed, but can range from imprisonment to fines or other sentences.

How Is Criminal Conspiracy Proven in Court?

Criminal conspiracy is typically proven in court through evidence that suggests two or more individuals have agreed to commit a criminal act. This evidence can come in the form of direct or circumstantial proof of communication between conspirators, or it may be gathered from witnesses and surveillance recordings.

Federal courts have determined that conspiracy may not be proven solely by proving the commission of one or more acts by the accused, as simply performing criminal acts does not necessarily mean that a conspiracy was formed. Instead, further evidence must demonstrate an agreement between conspirators to engage in that criminal activity. Therefore, prosecutors must present sufficient proof of communication between alleged members to support their claims of criminal conspiracy.

What Are the Penalties for Committing Criminal Conspiracy?

Penalties for committing criminal conspiracy vary based on the type and severity of the violation. Generally, criminal conspirators face harsher sentences than other types of offenders unless the crime itself carries with it a more serious punishment.

The penalties will also depend on what kind of criminal activity the conspiracy was intended to perpetrate. For example, if there was an attempt to commit murder or theft, then those involved in the conspiracy could face additional charges, including hefty fines or even death penalty in extreme cases. The severity of penalties can be further exacerbated if aggravating circumstances exist when forming or carrying out the conspiracy. It is important that anyone facing criminal conspiracy charges seeks legal counsel right away; as these crimes are prosecuted vigorously by law enforcement and carry extremely severe repercussions.

If you have been accused of criminal conspiracy, contact Shane Phelps Law immediately.